Fat is beneficial but needs the training to function correctly
Most of our life is spent trying to eliminate excess body fat. You can’t blame the individual because we all know visceral fat’s danger. Visceral fat is quite sneaky because you won’t necessarily see it. It’s hidden beneath layers of tissue and muscle. Skinny people can have excessive visceral fat stores and yet not know until perhaps they become diagnosed with a disease. Interestingly, a University of Copenhagen study stipulates that fat tissue plays a vital role in human health. As we age, fat tissue loses its function, which leads us into the arms of Type Two Diabetes, Cancer and other ailments. The good news is (as I expected) that lifelong exercise seems to counteract fat deterioration. Researchers at the University Of Copenhagen studied the link between ageing, exercise and fat tissue function in Danish Men. Imagine being asked how well your fat functions! Not something you will be asked during your lifetime — but it’s an important question. Research in recent years suggests that the functioning of fat tissue, or adipose tissue, is an essential indicator of why our bodies decay with age and how it’s linked to type two diabetes, cancer and obesity development. Fat cells change their function as we get older. Health isn’t just influenced by how much body fat we have, but rather how well that tissue functions as we age. The study demonstrates that even though our fat tissue loses its function with age, high volumes of exercise can significantly impact its efficiency. Our overall health is closely linked to how well fat tissue functions. For years, fat was thought to be an energy depot, but it’s an organ that interacts with other organs and can help to optimise your metabolic function. Fat tissue releases substances that affect our muscle and brain metabolism when we feel hungry. So, fat tissue needs to work the way it’s supposed to.
Fat cells get worse as we age — but we can combat this
Tiny mitochondria (known as power plants) help convert calories from food to supply cells with energy. To maintain the life processes within cells, they need to function optimally. Researchers compared mitochondria performances across young and older untrained, moderately trained and highly trained Danish men. The results demonstrated that the mitochondria’s ability to produce energy decreased with age, regardless of how much exercise a person does. However, although the efficiency of mitochondria decreases with age, we can see that high levels of lifelong exercise exert a potent compensatory effect. For example, a group of trained older men in the study had fat cells that could respire more than twice as much as in untrained more senior men. Mitochondria is like a car engine — converting chemicals to usable energy. Mitochondria waste comes from oxygen free radicals, knowns as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). ROS not eliminated by cells can lead to a wide range of diseases like cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease — even Alzheimers. Therefore, it’s essential to regulate ROS. Those men in the research group who trained more formed less of this ROS and maintained the functionality to eliminate it. In addition, their mitochondria were better at managing waste produced in the cells.
Key take away
It’s easy to see here that training throughout your lifetime helps eliminate waste from the cells and keeps your body fat functioning optimally while keeping your risk of developing diseases relatively low. Older participants who exercised most of their life have more mitochondria, allowing them to release more fat-related hormones necessary for the body’s energy balance. You don’t need a high daily activity to increase your mitochondria efficiency and keep disease at bay. What you shouldn’t do is nothing at all. Researchers are still left to assess where the cellular damage occurs in people who do not exercise and its impact on their bodies over time. I believe the next body of research will be fascinating and perhaps encourage more people to start being active throughout their lives. In saying that, It’s never too late to begin our journey toward better health. You can start today by walking that little extra every day and building yourself up slowly by increasing your time and distance. I also recommend weight training. It’s never let me down. It’s helped me maintain my shape and mental health throughout my 20s and into my 40s. I hope this inspires you to get out there and start being active. Many people wait until they are older to suffer the consequences of being inactive. Start and train your fat cells to eliminate waste and keep that fat-burning machine moving. Please feel free to read more about this research topic here. In addition, the whole paper is available for purchase.
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