Can endurance exercise affect gene expression?



Ever thought you just have to accept you don't have the right genes for endurance exercise? A recent study reveals that lifestyle can have a significant impact on how genes operate, and long-term endurance exercise can improve the way genes associate with metabolic health.


A study looked into the effects of three-population groups who underwent either an endurance, strength, or a sedentary regime over a 15-year period. They found the endurance group significantly changed the function of more than 1,000 genes when compared to the sedentary group. 26 genes were altered in response to strength training, and the remainder were related to running and cycling.


This research reveals that gene expression can be modified to become more efficient in reaction to various environmental factors, examples include diet, exercise and exposure to sunlight. Endurance exercise can help reduce the potential for disease such as cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes.


Even a month of endurance training can significantly affect gene expression, so there's no time like the present to start. You can't change your genes, but you can affect the way they function for better health.


Chapman, M.A. et al. (2020). Skeletal muscle transcriptomic comparison between long-term trained and untrained men and women. Cell Reports. 10780.