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Snip-Its: Why Exercise Improves Health

Here is information about a study on how exercise bio-chemically improves our physical health. This article caused me to jumped on my Treadmill and subsequently join a gym.  From a bio-chemical perspective it seems that a little physical exercize initates a cellular process analogous to recycling the trash that builds up in our cell bodies.  

Just why exercise is so good for people is, at last, being understood

Jan 21st 2012 | from the print edition

http://econ.st/z0Fc6U

ONE sure giveaway of quack medicine is the claim that a product can treat any ailment. There are, sadly, no panaceas. But some things come close, and exercise is one of them.  [snip]
[A] paper just published in Nature by Beth Levine of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre and her colleagues sheds some light on the matter. [snip]
Dr Levine and her team were testing a theory that exercise works its magic, at least in part, by promoting autophagy. This process, whose name is derived from the Greek for “self-eating”, is a mechanism by which surplus, worn-out or malformed proteins and other cellular components are broken up for scrap and recycled. [snip]
The virtues of recycling
Autophagy is an ancient mechanism, shared by all eukaryotic organisms (those which, unlike bacteria, keep their DNA in a membrane-bound nucleus within their cells). It probably arose as an adaptation to scarcity of nutrients. Critters that can recycle parts of themselves for fuel are better able to cope with lean times than those that cannot. But over the past couple of decades, autophagy has also been shown to be involved in things as diverse as fighting bacterial infections and slowing the onset of neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases.
Most intriguingly of all, it seems that it can slow the process of ageing. [snip]
The theory is that what are being disposed of in particular are worn-out mitochondria. These structures are a cell’s power-packs. They are where glucose and oxygen react together to release energy. Such reactions, though, often create damaging oxygen-rich molecules called free radicals, which are thought to be one of the driving forces of ageing. Getting rid of wonky mitochondria would reduce free-radical production and might thus slow down ageing. [Stop]
Read full article here:  http://econ.st/z0Fc6U
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