Discover the surprising way exercise affects fat, how different workout routines influence eating habits and more evidence that physical activity lowers specific mental health risks.

The surprising way exercise affects fat

It seems that you may be able to train fat to be good for you. New research shows that exercise can dramatically influence your fat cells – and that “trained” fat cells will positively affect your health by helping release the beneficial protein TGF-beta 2 into the bloodstream.

According to the findings the TGF-beta 2 protein is released from fat cells post exercise, and as a result there is a positive influence on glucose profile. ”The fact that a single protein has such important and dramatic effects was quite impressive,” says Laurie J. Goodyear, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. ”This research really revolutionizes the way we think about exercise, and the many metabolic effects of exercise. And, importantly, that fat is actually playing an important role in the way exercise works.”

The study also revealed the value of releasing lactic acid during exercise, which indicates that exercise intensity is the key to driving change.

You can learn more about the study here.

Regular physical activity now may help ward off dementia down the track

The mental benefits of exercise are many and varied – and now Swedish researchers have shown that dedicating time to exercise when you’re young may pay off in the years to come. In a new study published in the journal of Neurology researchers have shown that regular physical exercise can lower people’s chances of developing many types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

For more than 40 years the researchers studied 800 women (who had an average age of 47 at the start of the study). Those who engaged in more mental activities – such as playing instruments, doing needlework, being part of social clubs – lowered their risk of developing any type of dementia by 34 percent. Those who regularly engaged in intense exercise had a 57 percent lower risk of developing a combination of Alzheimer’s dementia and dementia compared to those who exercised less.

You can learn more about the study here.

Start exercising and you can’t help but eat healthy

A recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity involved 2500 college students who said they didn’t diet and exercised for less than 30 minutes a week. The students started a 15-week exercise program featuring 30 to 60-minute guided cardio workouts three times a week. They were instructed not to change their eating habits.

Over the course of the study about 2000 stuck with the exercise plan and, despite being told not to change their eating, many started making more nutritious food choices. The researchers found that the more – and more vigorously – a person exercised, the more their diet tended to improve.

You can learn more about the study here.

More evidence than ever that physical activity reduces depression

A new study – published in JAMA Psychiatry – has used the genetic data from more than 600,000 adults to provide more evidence than ever before that physical activity does play an important role in lowering the risk of depression.

The research involved assessing people’s genomes, their medical histories of depression and depressive symptoms and physical activity levels, as measured by fitness trackers and fitness diaries. It was evident that those who had genetic markers linked to a greater likelihood of exercising were less likely to suffer depression. This suggests that exercise can protect against depression, but interestingly, those with markers of depression are not less likely to exercise.

You can learn more about the study here.

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