By Gabe Sanders PhD, NSCA-CSCS
The majority of articles or information you read has likely detailed how eating healthy and exercising regularly can improve your body composition (decrease body fat and increase lean muscle mass) and your overall health. While this information is true, research has also established that practicing healthy lifestyle habits can decrease your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.
Interestingly, failure to engage or practice healthy lifestyle habits may significantly impact your genetics (DNA) which can increase your risk of cancer, more specifically breast cancer.
Lifestyle habits can alter your genetic code
In a recent study, researchers assessed how aerobic fitness and body weight status influenced DNA in the body. The participants in the study who were overweight and less aerobically fit had genetic fingerprints that closely related to genes that lead to inflammation and breast cancer.
These findings are extremely interesting as they emphasize the importance of choosing to live active, healthy lifestyles. The day in and day out lifestyle habits do not just affect your physical body that you see, they may even alter the genetic code in your body and in every cell.
Engage in aerobic exercise. Strengthen your genetic code.
There are many ways in which you can improve your aerobic fitness and therefore improve your genetic code. For starters, begin to exercise in a fashion that steadily and consistently increases your heart rate or makes you breathe harder. Your goal should be to engage in 30 minutes of rhythmic exercise without significant rests periods.
Over time, increase the amount of time you can consistently engage in this rhythmic type of exercises such as jogging, cycling, or any other form of “cardio.” The gradual and consistent cardio work will improve your aerobic fitness and in turn, this will help you maintain or perhaps, lose weight, ultimately strengthening your genetic code!
*Before starting an exercise or nutrition regimen, consult with your physician and/or healthcare provider and registered dietitian.
**For more examples of other variations/exercises look under Multimedia-VDF Exercise Tips
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Gillman, A. S., Gardiner, C. K., Koljack, C. E., & Bryan, A. D. (2017). Body mass index, diet, and exercise: testing possible linkages to breast cancer risk via DNA methylation. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 1-8.