Epigenetic adaptation to regular exercise in humans

Drug Discov Today. 2014 Jul;19(7):1015-8. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2014.03.006. Epub 2014 Mar 14.


Regular exercise has numerous health benefits, for example, it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. It has also been shown that the risk of type 2 diabetes can be halved in high-risk groups through nonpharmacological lifestyle interventions involving exercise and diet. Nevertheless, the number of people living a sedentary life is dramatically increasing worldwide. Researchers have searched for molecular mechanisms explaining the health benefits of regular exercise for decades and it is well established that exercise alters the gene expression pattern in multiple tissues. However, until recently it was unknown that regular exercise can modify the genome-wide DNA methylation pattern in humans. This review will focus on recent progress in the field of regular exercise and epigenetics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • DNA Methylation / physiology
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans