Endurance training can actually be helpful in dealing with muscle inflammation, according to a new paper co-written by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York, and Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden, and published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Muscle inflammation, or myositis, can be caused by infection, injury and chronic disease. However, specific forms of myositis like dermatomyositis and polymyositis occur when the body’s immune system turns against its own muscles, damaging the muscle tissue in the process.
While there are plenty of prescribed medications to cope with muscular diseases, the medication utilized only does half the job.
The drugs are targeting one immune cell or a group of immune cells, but there are no new drugs that target muscles that are dying. Exercise can take care of the immune cells that are killing the muscles, and repair the cell death of the muscle.”
The study found that endurance exercise altered microRNAs that target and downregulate immune processes, as well as decreasing different microRNAs that target and upregulate mitochondrial content at the protein level. That is, exercise creates microRNA that decreases the number of immune cells that attack the muscle and heals the muscle by increasing aerobic metabolism through mitochondrial biogenesis.
The reason why exercise wasn’t considered before is that if people have muscles that are already inflamed or weak, they believed exercise would make the muscles worse. However, what is surprising is the question of why exercise is so effective. It’s because exercise takes care of the immune cells that are damaging the muscle while simultaneously targeting specific parts of dead or affected muscles.
While there are no drugs today that target all the issues of muscle inflammation, the researchers believe a combination of medication and endurance-based exercise can help patients live a happier and healthier life.