They found that the twins that exercised more had less body fat, healthier insulin levels and larger volumes of grey matter in the brains striatal and prefrontal cortex. These are areas that are involved in motor or muscle control. Gray matter is where the processing in the brain takes place. Dr Urho Kujala a professor of sports and exercise medicine at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland, where the study took place said "We were somewhat surprised that so clear change in brain structure occurred as a result of differences in exercising during adulthood, as the exercise habits of these twin pairs were similar during childhood.”
What it means
This research has its limitations in the fact that there were only 10 sets of twins used and the fact that they were all male. None of the female responders met the criteria. However, it does give another indication of the wide ranging benefits of exercise. My bet is more and more research will come out linking exercise to positive health outcomes. It would be interesting to see how long it would take these changes in grey matter to occur in someone who hadn’t been exercising. Maybe this is the direction their research will head. It was also interesting to note that the exercising twin had less body fat and better insulin levels, all signs of better health. This shows that you cannot simply blame your genes on your current health situation.
My thought is that you are never too old to start exercising. Whatever the case, appropriate exercise can only be good for you. So if you aren’t exercising regularly, start doing some, your body will thank you for it.
- Image: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/04/one-twin-exercises-the-other-doesnt/