We already have more data on why physical exercise lengthens life, rejuvenates the body and leaves us better protected against many diseases.
Since we are born, a process of replacement of cells that have finished their useful life begins, through the production of new ones from stem cells, which, by the way, have to be recycled, but with age this capacity is lost. and many remain as senescent cells, which emit pro-inflammatory cytokines and collagen and connective tissue growth factors, resulting in wrinkles and pain.
A specialized type of progenitor for these cells has been identified in the bone marrow and shown to support the generation of immune cells called lymphocytes in response to physical exercise. Lymphocytes generate a massive attack against viruses and bacteria. There are several classes and one of them is called natural killers.
Many types of stem cells, including the progenitors of immune cells, coexist side by side in this immature state, ready to evolve into adult cells. They are the ones that give rise to bones, skeletal tissue, fat cells and the hematopoietic progenitors that will end up evolving into the cells of the immune system.
These stem cells reside in places other than the bone marrow, around blood vessels and arterioles, which, upon receiving the impact, stimulation, pressure from moving muscles and joints during exercise, will promote and stimulate the development of a cascade of signals. growth stimulators.
They have discovered a pathway, previously unknown, by which exercise, detected through the mechano-sensitive protein Piezo1 in the membranes, triggers the production of a factor in the development of these cells, which in addition to producing bone also those of the immune system .
It was known that exercise can boost the immune system, but advance work by Zen and his colleagues provides the reason why this occurs and why daily exercise lengthens life and prevents dependency and early physical frailty.
Thus, exercise, detected through the mechano-sensitive protein Piezo1 in the membrane of these cells, triggers the development of the immune system to stimulate the production of a signal that favors the maturation of its embryonic cells.
The movement detection mechanism is well established to play a role in bone physiology, but stimulation is also required for lymphocyte precursors. Osteogenesis (formation of bone producers) and lymphopoiesis (formation of lymphocytes) in the bone marrow are maintained by mechanical stimulation.
Mechano-signaling has been described for other cell types, for example, pancreatic progenitor cells, intestinal stem cells, and endothelial cells lining blood vessels. It is possible, then, that the mechano-sensitivity, which acts every time we exercise in the cells that line our arterioles, contributes to the maintenance of other types of stem and progenitor cells in the rest of the body and we maintain the health of all tissues .
In this way, exercise, let’s say swimming, by moving so many muscles, activates those receptors that are activated by pressure and give rise to a cascade of renewal and general rejuvenation and defense against all kinds of diseases.
We are made to be on the move, for the reasons we have alluded to. I am not worth the advice of half an hour three times a week, I think it is not based on any solid argument. According to this writing, the more movement the better, but daily.
It have been known for some time from large observational studies that exercise can reduce the risk of mortality from all causes and from specific diseases.
A team of cardiologists from the Cardiovascular Institute of Hospital Clínico San Carlos have studied patients hospitalized for covid-19 to conclude that maintaining regular physical activity increases the chances of survival in these patients by up to eight times compared to those who lead a sedentary life .
They were conclusive: the group that had maintained constant, light or moderate physical activity, had a mortality risk of 1.8% compared to 13.8% in the group with a sedentary lifestyle; that is, people who exercise regularly are up to eight times more likely to survive than sedentary people. As long as we include the Mediterranean diet.
“Performing physical exercise on a regular basis becomes a primary factor since it reduces the possibility of dying from covid-19 eight times when the person requires hospital admission,” warns the director of the Cardiovascular Institute of the San Carlos Clinical Hospital, Julián Pérez-Villacastín who has carried out this research, surrounded by a group of collaborators research that has been published in the American scientific journal of infectious diseases, Infectious Diseases and Therapy.
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José Antonio Rodríguez Piedrabuena
Specialist in Psychiatry, and in managerial training, group and couple therapy