Intense exercise

There are always new theories around exercise and how you should do it. In most cases the new theory is driven by someone’s need to convince you that only their form of exercise really works and is therefore worth paying for; you can’t reinvent the wheel but you can put glitter on it and call it a “sparkle-orb”. Some theories though do hold some value and one of those as regards exercise is that you do get some benefits from short intense bouts of exercise. Now a new study has highlighted how this might work at the molecular level.

In this new study researchers showed that short, intense bouts of exercise do activate the sympathetic nervous system, as part of the fight or flight mechanism as the exercise itself is a stress signal. This was not so new but the effect they found was new.

The found that when the sympathetic nervous system turns on it causes the release of a protein called CRTC2. The researchers found that CRTC2 in mice caused an increase in muscle size of approximately 15 per cent. They also found that the amount of fuel available to muscles increased dramatically with triglycerides increasing by 48 per cent and glycogen supplies increasing by 121 per cent. Then in an exercise stress test CRTC2 led to a 103 per cent improvement in performance.

It seems that CRTC2 integrates signals from the adrenalin pathway and the calcium pathway at a molecular level to achieve these results.

This does not mean that longer form aerobic exercise does not have benefits. It just means that short intense workouts can play a valuable role in your exercise regime. There is some value in “playing hard” after all.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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