More Proof To Move!

Disclaimer: my following blog is going to be highly persuasive, with a confirming bias.

Now that I have gotten the aforementioned out of the way: it’s time to discuss with you about a protein named Irisin— and it’s newly found role in the brain as an exercise-induced messenger (1). Irisin, or: Fibronectin type III domain-containing protein 5, which is an absolute mouthful! and will not be used for the entirety of this blog! is a myokine—  a type of cytokine (protein) that was first discovered and involved in fat -metabolism (1). Recently, Irisin has been found to be involved in neuroprotection, especially in Alzheimer’s rodent models (2).

So how does Irisin work with exercise?

Irisin is released in the muscle during exercise (muscle contractions). Which initiates a cell-signalling pathway, that is able to facilitate the human cortex by the means of plasticity (in lame terms). Studies in vivo Alzheimer’s rodent models have shown that: exercise was able to prevent the aggregation of the well known protein: Amyloid-beta in Alzheimer phenotypical rodents which is a neurotoxic protein (1). Amyloid-Beta, are plaques that interfere with neuronal signaling— just like plaques in an artery that can cause atherosclerosis. Although big pharma companies have been unable to discover a drug that removes amyloid-beta from the human cortex. There are other well established adjuncts, such as aerobic exercise— that is a well known panacea for the cognitively aging (and young!), whilst also being incredibly important for an array of other health benefits which will not be discussed. Irisin, via exercise-induced signalling: targets the neurotoxic proteins by increasing the strength of the dendritic spine of the neuron/s (neuronal communication) which thus can promote long term potentiation (1) which is the consolidation of short term memory, to long term memory. I think of Irisin like the well-studied nuerotrophin: Brain-Derived-Neurotrophic-Factor (BDNF). BDNF is known in lame terms as fertilizer for the brain. And just as a plant requires a process to grow and develop; so too do nerve cells. Exercise is an acute stress. Acute stressors are excellent from: bone and tissue stress during strength training, a cognitively demanding task, to aerobic exercise. For neurons to survive. They require stress (as one means among many). And stress via aerobic exercise is an excellent means to activate powerful cellular pathways such as Irisin and BDNF. I get super excited knowing that each time I hop (metaphorically speaking) on the cross-trainer; I am activating such a powerful pathway, whilst increasing my longevity— and significantly decreasing the risk of dementia later in life.

From an aerobic exercise prescription. Physical activity guidelines recommend: One-hundred and fifty minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity over ones week. Or, seventy-minutes of intense physical activity once per week. With consultation with one’s GP and exercise physiologist. One can be guided safely through exercise; that is in concordance with ones current level of cardiovascular fitness. This will ensure appropriate prescription and safety. Now, any exercise at any age is beneficial. However, exercising at a earlier age, and maintaining through ones life has the best evidence for robustness against dementia. And going a little beyond the physical activity guidelines, by introducing- strength training, or some short high-intensity-intervals will contribute as a drug on it’s own accord!

So think of exercise (especially aerobic) like your superannuation: each time you exercise, you are investing in your long-term health. So move! seek expert advice! and give your brain the best health that it deserves.

James

References

1. Chen, X. and Gan, L. (2019). An exercise-induced messenger boosts memory in Alzheimer’s disease. Nature Medicine, 25(1), pp.20-21.

2. Lourenco, M., Frozza, R., de Freitas, G., Zhang, H., Kincheski, G., Ribeiro, F., Gonçalves, R., Clarke, J., Beckman, D., Staniszewski, A., Berman, H., Guerra, L., Forny-Germano, L., Meier, S., Wilcock, D., de Souza, J., Alves-Leon, S., Prado, V., Prado, M., Abisambra, J., Tovar-Moll, F., Mattos, P., Arancio, O., Ferreira, S. and De Felice, F. (2019). Exercise-linked FNDC5/irisin rescues synaptic plasticity and memory defects in Alzheimer’s models. Nature Medicine, 25(1), pp.165-175.

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Consensus to Move.

In my previous blog I discussed: incidental physical activity. And all the interrogatives that one needed to know. This blog is going to further discuss physical activity— with leading researchers from around the world recently got together, to develop a consensus on: physical activity and ageing.

Here is some empirical data first:

Higher social-economic country’s are poorly inactive. Due to the high demands commercialism places on individuals. And advances in technology.

Poor access to physical activity. Whether this be: bike path/lanes, parkland’s on-route to work, outdoor equipment and so forth lead to more sedentary behaviors.

Easy access to high-processed foods at the touch of a button have an impact on the current obesity epidemic.

You get the point!

Collectively, the aforementioned increase the risk for anyone of the nine known comorbidities that ‘we’ are currently facing: (hypertension, type II diabetes mellitus, chronic pain just to name a few). It is therefore of the utmost importance— that human population ages and flourishes well. With advances in medicine & technology; ‘we’ are living longer lives there is no doubt about it. However, some are aging with comorbidities which decreases quality of life, whilst burdening ‘are’ medical system. There is also more evidence that: being physically active between the ages of 15-45 decreases the chances of a bony fracture later in life. Or, having a robust plastic cardiorespiratory system— decreases the risk of dementia and cardiovascular disease in later life.

I could go on!

 

The Copenhagen Consensus statement discussed earlier. Has four themes. Which provide evidence for the benefits of physical activity and ageing (1). I will briefly discuss the four—  whilst provide the reference for further reading.

 

Theme 1: Functional Capacity and Health. 

Adults that are physically active over inactive adults: are less dependent, have fewer musculoskeletal  issues, have improved immunity, increased cognitive function and are less likely to have cardiovascular diseases.

Theme 2: Brain Health and Cognitive Function. 

Neurodegeneration (such as Alzheimer’s) can be slowed or delayed in physically active adults; according to longitudinal studies.

Theme 3: Behavior Change, Intention and Habits. 

“Physical activity is an individual behavior that is influenced by interpersonal, environmental and policy factors”. (1)

Theme 4: Sociological Perspectives.

Lifelong physical activity habits and experiences, influence participation in later life. “When physical activity is meaningful to them, older adults are more likely to continue participation”. (1)

 

As you can gauge from the aforementioned. Physical activity is not just going to the gym. Although great! Having access to open environmentally friendly spaces; such as: parks with safe equipment, bike paths that lead into the CBD, scenic views that increase awe and enjoyment, lastly, promotion and investment from the government; are all going to increase adherence to move more, and more frequently.

So even if you are in you’re 20’s or 50’s. Find ways to move more— which resonate with you! Of course, the Exercise Physiology team here at iNform Health  can safely guide you through your movement. Enabling you to feel safe, adept and confident to tackle any bike path, or hike.

 

Best,

James

Reference

Bangsbo J, Blackwell J, Boraxbekk C, et al
Copenhagen Consensus statement 2019: physical activity and ageing
Br J Sports MedPublished Online First: 21 February 2019. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2018-100451