Doing—or skipping—one workout isn’t going to have a big impact on your health in the long run, right? Wrong! Studies have found that a single bout of exercise can affect your body in surprising ways. And when you keep that habit up, those benefits add up to big, positive changes. So stick with it, but also be proud of yourself even just for a single sweat session, thanks in part to these pretty powerful perks of a solitary workout.
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In a 2012 study, Swedish researchers found that among healthy but inactive adults, mere minutes of exercise altered genetic material in muscle cells. Of course, we inherit our DNA from our parents, but lifestyle factors such as exercise can play a part in expressing or "turning on" certain genes. In the instance of exercise, it appears to affect gene expression for strength and metabolism.
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