Epigenetic benefits of interval training

by THOMAS on July 14, 2015 • 5:32 pm

You have heard me discuss then concept of epigenetics in the past. This is the ability of factors outside the gene to influence genetic expression without changing the DNA blueprint. It is common knowledge that exercise has many benefits to improving ones overall health and that the combination of exercise and a healthy nutrition plan provides additional benefits. It is only recently that the some of the mechanisms behind these benefits have been uncovered. Vigorous exercise along with a healthy lifestyle, relatively low stress and proper diet, alters the methylation pathways, providing increased fat metabolism and beneficial absorption of B-vitamin’s, enhanced detoxification and the genetic reprogramming of muscles for increased strength. A recent study in Sweden found that endurance training can also have positive epigenetic effects including methylation changes that benefit NRG metabolism, insulin response, and muscle inflammation. Both endurance training and high-intensity exercise have benefits in helping to avoid the effects of chronic degenerative diseases. But what combination of exercises seems to have the most benefits? It turns out that high-intensity interval training that alternates short periods of intense exercise with low-intensity recovery periods has been shown to be more effective at promoting these health benefits. So for those of you who have been using circuit training or some variation of it, keep up the good work as this seems to provide more of the epigenetic benefits. If you are not familiar with the concept of circuit training, there are many sources available to you. Most fitness clubs have training instructors who are familiar with this concept and offer training programs for members. The following is a suggestion of how to set up your own circuit weight training program: Start by choosing 6 or 8 fitness weight training machines and set the machines at a moderate resistance level. Next perform a set of 10-15 repetitions followed by a 2-3 minute aerobic low intensity activity such as briskly biking of walking. Then move on to the next machine and repeat this procedure until you have visited each machine 3 times or completed 3 circuits. I would recommend that you consider taking a class because this can be fun social event and a chance to meet like-minded people!


Have fun and be well!


Dr. T