Most of us have heard that regular exercise helps strengthen the heart, improves muscle tone, and burns calories. We also know that it helps protect the body against a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease and metabolic disorders like diabetes. But until recently, scientists did not fully understand the cellular basis of these protective benefits.
In a study published last month, researchers from the University of Texas found that exercise induces a specific cellular process (called autophagy) that helps cells more efficienctly remove and recycle waste products, ultimately using them as energy.
This study confirmed scientists’ suspicions that faulty autophagy mechanisms may contribute to ageing and the development of some diseases, and that regular exercise is indeed an important tool for protecting against chronic disease.
Image Source: Gore-Tex Products/Flickr