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Being more active improves your ability to prevent damage and recover

When reviewing all I’ve learned about the benefits of exercise, I feel that the most important benefit is the ability to recover from any risk you take or damage or injury you incur.

It is becoming increasingly clear that all fuels humans use for energy including; Fat, sugar, and protein, are dangerous when not controlled properly. This is not surprising when you consider that all fuels we use outside the body, like wood, oil, and gas, are also dangerous when not used and stored properly.

Many other chemicals used by the body are also dangerous when not stored properly. Salt is an obvious example because one researcher, Marc Peletier, specifically attributes salt regulation to heart disease.

The good news is that exercise is nature’s way of regulating all these dangerous chemicals. The bad news is that not all the research is conclusive yet, so let me give you a quick rundown of what I have found.


AKA Carbohydrate. Your exercise performance depends greatly on your ability to use sugar so exercise improves your ability to control and use it. Exercise targets the Glucose transporters, specifically type 4, which are regulated by insulin, which ensures the body can regulate sugar properly


Fat is, of course, the fuel you want to use the most yet most people don’t know that your ability to burn fat depends on your ability to mobilise it but also your ability to use carbohydrate. The saying goes that “You can only burn fat in a carbohydrate flame” so of course exercise improves sugar and fat mobilisation and use. Insulin also controls fat release but the mechanism is yet to be fully understood. New evidence is coming to light, but whether that includes insulin response, we will find out.


Protein is half sugar and half amine. The amine part is toxic in large quantities, so just like sugar, it needs tight regulation. Exercise requires protein partly for fuel but mainly for building and repair work. What exercise does is push the body to become more able to handle the forces applied to it. Therefore, it becomes less likely to break under strain. At the same time, it creates a strong need to use protein, and thus, the systems to regulate protein become efficient and tightly regulated.


Salt and salts are actually crucial to the body because they have very useful chemical properties. Two very important functions are to help draw water in and out of the body as required, making it easier to regulate water and keep the whole body healthy. The other is to supply the calcium and sodium required by nerves in saltatory conduction. Your entire nervous system, including your brain, spine and motor circuits, require specific amounts of calcium to repeatedly send messages around the body


The biggest improvement your body makes when you exercise is in water regulation. This is because every system in the body works better when water is controlled properly. Plenty of studies show that carbohydrate and fat don’t get digested or used properly if the water around them is not correct which is the basis of the sports drinks industry. Exercise puts the greatest strain possible on the body’s ability to supply, transport and regulate water, so it is no surprise that it forces the body to keep the required systems up to date.

merry go round

Exercise creates demand

As you can see from this analysis exercise puts a great and regular demand on all the body as a whole. This act forces the body to bring itself up to standard and reminds the body how it is supposed to work and that it must prepare for challenges. The challenge of exercise no longer exists in modern sedentary life and we haven’t yet evolved to handle this. So, without the regular challenge of movement, the body and its systems fall into disrepair. This is the reason that obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other diseases of Western life are all being recognised as the result of the body not working as it normally would and that those who are regularly active suffer much less from these diseases if they suffer at all.

From this angle, you see from my list that several key aspects of the body are kept functioning by activity, from the ability to use fuel to the ability to supply water. At the same time, the improvements made to bodily systems to make this happen reduce the damage caused when these systems are not maintained.

  • Purging cells in mice is found to combat aging ills. Senescent cells hasten ageing in the tissues in which they accumulate. Exercise and calorie restriction are two important ways to encourage this purging process. Exercise, though, is much more important in preparing the body to do the process well. Calorie restriction can trigger the process, but it has an arbitrary focus and is likely to purge heart muscle cells and faulty ones. Exercise forces the body to be more practical and calculating. Building up the resources and workflow to purge effectively rather than randomly. Directing the efforts of calorie restriction in a more organised and beneficial way.
  • The mathematics of weight loss: Ruben Meerman at TEDxQUT really well presented explanation of the basics of weight loss. You lose weight by eating less and moving more and breathing. He cuts right through many of the myths and explains specifically what happens. Doesn’t cover the challenges of doing this. Just focuses on the specific reliable equations that you should actually care about. I would like to see if it helps people understand the process itself more and believe in it.
  • The underappreciated Role of Muscle in Health and Disease 
    • Muscle isn’t susceptible to cancer. We don’t yet know why, but we’re learning. Muscles affect us more than we know, encouraging the transfer of sugar around our body and reducing insulin resistance and diabetes.
  • The Role of Water Homeostasis in Muscle Function and Frailty 
    • explores the relationship between the recovery of water in cells and surrounding tissues and frailty through loss of muscle function.
    • It is a complex and very important topic related to ageing. It highlights that as we age, we require more self-care, not less, to help our bodies retain the recovery abilities that we took advantage of when we were younger.
  • Molecular mechanisms of exercise contributing to tissue regeneration.
    • A timely review of the latest research, including effects on dementia, bone loss, heart function, skeletal muscle mass, central and peripheral nervous tissue and the regeneration of other tissues.
  • Exerkines in health, resilience and disease.
    • Irrefutable evidence supports the importance of physical activity, exercise and cardiorespiratory fitness in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cognitive decline and many cancers, while enhancing the immune system, healthspan, longevity and resilience

These are the things I already know and this talk by Jamie Scott adds even more to why being strong can give you a happy future

The demands of tool making may have lead to human intelligence. Brains scans of modern people replicating advanced stone age Acheulian tool-making recruited a higher-order cognitive network that spans across a large portion of the cerebral cortex. This Acheulian cognitive network is involved in higher-level motor planning and holding in mind multi-sensory information using working memory

How a single enzyme unleashes a complex DNA repair process

  • Study sheds light on metabolic enzymes and processes essential for DNA damage repair In crisis, the nucleus calls antioxidant enzymes to the rescue. The nucleus being metabolically active is a profound paradigm shift with implications for cancer research. cells order the enzyme PRDX1, an antioxidant enzyme also normally found in mitochondria, to travel to the nucleus and scavenge reactive oxygen species present to prevent further damage. PRDX1 was also found to repair the damage by regulating the cellular availability of aspartate, a raw material that is critical for synthesizing nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA. PRDX1 is like a robotic pool cleaner. Cells are known to use it to keep their insides ‘clean’ and prevent the accumulation of reactive oxygen species, but never before at the nuclear level. This is evidence that, in a state of crisis, the nucleus responds by appropriating mitochondrial machinery and establishes an emergency rapid-industrialization policy,” says Dr. Sdelci
    • The human nucleus is metabolically active, according to the findings of a new study in Molecular Systems Biology by researchers at the CRG in Barcelona and CeMM/Medical University of Vienna,
    • In a state of crisis, such as widespread DNA damage, the nucleus protects itself by appropriates mitochondrial machinery to carry out urgent repairs that threaten the genome’s integrity
    • The findings represent a paradigm shift because the nucleus has been historically considered to be metabolically inert, importing all its needs through supply chains in the cytoplasm
    • Cancer hijacks cellular metabolism for unfettered growth. The findings can help guide future lines of cancer research by offering new clues to overcome drug resistance and eventually the design of new treatments
  • Profound Paradigm Shift in Cellular Biology – DNA Damage Repaired by Antioxidant Enzymes Researchers have discovered that a cell’s nucleus is metabolically active, with cellular enzymes moving to protect DNA integrity upon damage. This shift in understanding of cellular metabolism can inform new strategies in cancer treatment, as cancer cells often hijack metabolic processes for their growth.
  • Can you be so fit that you die earlier? A doctor making the case for exercise being movement not just gym work 
  • Fatty acid transport across the cell membrane: regulation by fatty acid transporters
  • The Regulation of Fat Metabolism during Aerobic Exercise

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