Impact of endurance and ultraendurance exercise on DNA damage

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2011 Jul;1229:115-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.06106.x.


Regular moderate physical activity reduces the risk of several noncommunicable diseases. At the same time, evidence exists for oxidative stress resulting from acute and strenuous exercise by enhanced formation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, which may lead to oxidatively modified lipids, proteins, and possibly negative effects on DNA stability. The limited data on ultraendurance events such as an Ironman triathlon show no persistent DNA damage after the events. However, when considering the effects of endurance exercise comparable to a (half) marathon or a short triathlon distance, no clear conclusions could be drawn. In order to clarify which components of exercise participation, such as duration, intensity, frequency, or training status of the subjects, have an impact on DNA stability, more information is clearly needed that combines the measurement of DNA damage, gene expression, and DNA repair mechanisms before, during, and after exercise of differing intensities and durations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA Repair / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*