From Ronald Hoffman, MD, ANH-USA Board President and Medical Director
February is upon us—which means, according to surveys, that 43% of you have forgotten your resolution to improve your fitness in ‘24. Here’s some ammo to fortify your intentions.
Regenerative effects of exercise: My last car was a 2012. I drove it 80,000+ miles, determined to suck the marrow out of its life expectancy. I suppose, in car-years, it was an octogenarian.
Then, just after it hit its 10-year mark, I noticed a little oil slick on the garage floor. I didn’t pay it much mind, until a young family member who’s a car guy said: “You better have that checked out.”
I dutifully took it to the dealer, and waited for the mechanic’s verdict. I was braced for a four-figure hit. Then I got a text: “Estimated repairs: $13,750”
Needless to say I took a trade-in and upgraded my ride. There’s only so much mechanical stress that a machine can take before things break down. But does that analogy hold for the human body? To some extent, yes. But a new study suggests that comparing us to steel/aluminum/rubber/glass vehicles is reductive.
In “Molecular mechanisms of exercise contributing to tissue regeneration”, researchers provide a comprehensive review of the benefits of exercise that is well-worth reading. They acknowledge that exercise has the potential to alleviate “a wide range of diseases, such as metabolic diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, tumors, and cardiovascular diseases.”
But there’s more. Imagine if, the more you drive your car, the more resilient it became to the ravages of wear and tear. That’s what happens when you take your body out of the garage and put the pedal down on the road—as if it were self-repairing with use.