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Running can improve our metabolism as we age: Study

Published on:16 June 2021, 11:47am IST
The major reason for weight gain is your low metabolic rate. Amp it up with running and stay healthy, even as you get older.
ANI
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Running for the win! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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A new study investigated the effects of genetic running capacity and aging on tissue metabolism. The study revealed that adipose tissue may have a key role in healthy aging.

The findings of the study were published in the journal ‘Geroscience’.

Here’s how running can help

High running capacity is associated with health and longevity. However, whether high genetic running capacity promotes more efficient metabolism with aging is not known.

This study conducted in collaboration between the universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China) and Jyvaskyla (Finland) investigated the effects of genetic running capacity and aging on tissue metabolism. The study revealed that adipose tissue may have a key role in healthy aging.

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Run like a pro! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Running capacity, expressed as aerobic capacity, refers to an individual’s capacity to utilize oxygen and is known to decrease with age, thereby affecting the whole body’s metabolism and health.

“We currently lack the information whether high genetic aerobic capacity promotes healthier metabolism in different tissues as we age,” explained Academy of Finland postdoctoral researcher Sira Karvinen from the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland.

To study the question, animal models of high-capacity runners (HCR) and low-capacity runners (LCR) were utilized. These rodent lines differ in their aerobic capacity genetically. Samples of serum, muscle and adipose tissue were harvested from young and aged animals to explore the tissue metabolites.

“According to our results, high genetic running capacity was associated with more efficient amino acid metabolism in skeletal muscle. Inefficient amino acid metabolism is linked to increased adiposity and risk of metabolic diseases,” said Karvinen.

High genetic running capacity and aging interactively affected lipid metabolism in muscle and adipose tissue, possibly contributing to healthier metabolism with aging.

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Stretch before you run. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The results suggest that adipose tissue may have a more significant role in promoting healthy aging than previously thought. According to the current literature, around 50 per cent of an individual’s aerobic capacity is genetically inherited and the other 50 per cent can be gained via physical activity.

“Regular exercise promotes health whether you have genetically high or low aerobic capacity. Hence, it is highly recommended to promote one’s metabolism with exercise especially at older age, when aerobic capacity as well as other health parameters decline,” said the principal investigator, Professor Heikki Kainulainen from the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland.