Just 10 minutes on the treadmill is enough to change 9,000 molecules in your body, a study found



  • A new study found that 9,815 molecules changed after a quick workout on the treadmill.

  • The study authors think in the future, people may be able to take a blood test to determine their level of fitness.

  • This is more evidence that exercise is good for one's health.

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A 10-minute jog might feel like a cop-out, but a new study by the Stanford University School of Medicine has found that it's enough to alter 9,815 molecules in your body.

There are many existing studies examining the effects exercise has on smaller groups of molecules, but until now no study has committed to the tremendous job of examining how each molecules in the body responds to exercise.

The new study, published in Cell, was small, but it was an ambitious endeavor to document all of the tiny changes to the body's blood that happen post-workout, further highlighting what researchers have known for years: that exercise is crucial for good health.

Researchers still don't know exactly what the impact of each molecular change is, but they do know they are correlated with different bodily functions. Some of the changing molecules were involved in metabolic functions, or digestion or immune system functions, while others were involved in inflammation and insulin resistance levels.

"I had thought, it's only about nine minutes of exercise, how much is going to change? A lot, as it turns out," Snyder told the New York Times.

health wellness weightless fit fitness exercise weights resistance bands gym work out yoga  15
health wellness weightless fit fitness exercise weights resistance bands gym work out yoga 15

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This intensive, detail-oriented research was only possible because these researchers had been quantifying the molecules of a group of 100 adult men and women. They chose 36 people from their initial pool, including study author Michael Snyder, the chair of the genetics department at Stanford University.

All the participants were between ages 40 and 75, ranging from fit to overweight, and drew blood from them before and after they ran on a treadmill for about 10 minutes.

A majority of the 17,662 molecules they measured (9,815) either increased or declined after the workout. For some people, the molecular changes lingered for longer.

A simple blood test might determine people's fitness level

The study was small, and didn't involve participants over 40, and used only a one-time workout, so Snyder and the other researchers can't make any definite conclusions about molecule levels and fitness at this time.

But Snyder is planning more experiments on people's molecule levels, this time with longer workout times and more participants, so he can determine if a simple blood test could be a good way of determining people's physical fitness.

While researching, Snyder and his team discovered thousands of molecules that might correlate with people's fitness levels. Those molecules included markers of metabolism and immunity.

Based off the results of this study,  Snyder and his team have created a development test for the idea of using blood tests as fitness markers.  In fact, they've already filed a patent application for it.

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