New research has found that short bursts of exercise may significantly improve levels of metabolites that are indicators of key physical health issues.

The research, published in the journal Circulation, offers scientists a better understanding of the beneficial effects exercise can have on a person’s health.

Health and physical activity

Scientists have known for a long time that there is a link between physical activity and better health. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say, “Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health.”

The CDC note that regular exercise can improve a person’s brain health; help them better manage their weight; reduce their chances of developing various diseases, including diabetes, some cancers, and cardiovascular disease; strengthen their muscles and bones; and improve mental health.

While scientists are well aware of these links, they do not fully understand the precise molecular mechanisms that help explain the link between being physically active and maintaining better health.

Burst of exercise

The researchers made use of the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), a long-term study directed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

The researchers measured 588 metabolites in 411 middle-aged people before and immediately after 12 minutes of physical activity on an exercise bike. This allowed them to see the effect that exercise has on the metabolome.

In general, the researchers found that the short burst of exercise significantly altered 80% of a participant’s metabolitesIn particular, they found that metabolites associated with adverse health outcomes when resting were reduced.

For example, high levels of glutamate have been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, and the researchers found that these levels fell by 29% following exercise. The levels of dimethylguanidine valerate (DMGV), which are associated with liver disease and diabetes, fell by 18% following exercise.

Medical reference: Medical News Today