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A new study shows that resistance exercise helps the body’s cells identify and eliminate misfolded proteins – key players in the pathogenesis of many human diseases, including diabetes, atherosclerosis, and neurodegenerative diseases.

The study involved 30 older adults who engaged in an eight-week resistance training program in which they exercised twice a week. Before and after the exercise intervention, researchers measured changes in the number of key proteins in the participants' blood involved in inflammation, aging, and cellular stress responses.

They also measured levels of IRE1, a protein that detects stress in the endoplasmic reticulum – a part of the cell that ensures misfolded proteins don’t escape into the body’s circulation or accumulate in the cell. IRE1 must be activated to be effective.

They found that none of the proteins involved in inflammation, aging, and cellular stress responses were changed after the intervention. However, the ratio of activated IRE1 to inactivated IRE1 was higher among those who engaged in resistance training, suggesting that resistance training supports the identification and elimination of misfolded proteins – yet another way in which resistance training benefits health.

Resistance training involves pushing or pulling against the resistance of an object, such as weights, bands, or even one’s own body weight. These exercises exert powerful forces on the bones, slowing bone loss and promoting bone accretion. Learn more about resistance training in this episode featuring Dr. Brad Schoenfeld.

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