Exercise Stops Stem Cells From Becoming Fat Cells

Researchers have found that exercise triggers your stem cells to avoid becoming fat cells and instead become blood producing bone cells.

And when it comes to your overall health, this is a real win-win situation.

Swapping fat cells for an increased number of  blood producing bone cells results in a boost in your immune system, more efficient uptake of oxygen, improved athletic performance and improved wound clotting.

The Study

Researchers at McMaster University ran a group of lab mice less than an hour at progressive speeds, three times a week for 10 weeks.

At the end of the 10 weeks, the marathon mice had increased their blood producing stem and progenitor cell content from 50 to 800%. Training also reduced marrow cavity fat by 78%.

In the sedentary control mice, those same stem cells were more likely to become fat, impairing blood production in the marrow cavities of bones.

“The interesting thing was that a modest exercise program was able to significantly increase blood cells in the marrow and in circulation,” says Parise. “What we’re suggesting is that exercise is a potent stimulus — enough of a stimulus to actually trigger a switch in these mesenchymal stem cells.”

“Some of the impact of exercise is comparable to what we see with pharmaceutical intervention,” he says. “Exercise has the ability to impact stem cell biology. It has the ability to influence how they differentiate.”

Another great reason to put down the remote control and go for a walk.


Douglas Robb

Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, and a student of nutrition and exercise science. He's also the co-founder of the Hive Health Media. Since 2008, Doug has expanded his impact by bringing his real-world experience online via the health & fitness blog – Health Habits.

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