Epigenetic modification refers to heritable changes in gene function that cannot be explained by alterations in the DNA sequence. The current literature clearly demonstrates that the epigenetic response is highly dynamic and influenced by different biological and environmental factors such as aging, nutrient availability and physical exercise. As such, it is well accepted that physical activity and exercise can modulate gene expression through epigenetic alternations although the type and duration of exercise eliciting specific epigenetic effects that can result in health benefits and prevent chronic diseases remains to be determined. This review highlights the most significant findings from epigenetic studies involving physical activity/exercise interventions known to benefit chronic diseases such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.
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- School of Sport and Health Sciences - Professor of Sport and Exercise Science
- Centre for Stress and Age-Related Disease
- Sport and Exercise Science and Sports Medicine Research and Enterprise Group