Before my exercise routine was set in stone, I would often go weeks without working out and then pick it back up. Without fail, my body would have a tougher time getting back into the fitness flow. This meant feeling extra sore and physically drained after the work out. Usually, I shrugged this off and accepted that I needed to work out more. But interesting research from a new study suggests there’s a deeper reason behind why exercising is harder to do when you’re not doing it often enough.
A recent research paper published in the The Journal of Clinical Investigation reinforces the link between exercise and physical performance. Lead author Fiona Bartoli, PhD, notes that working out is key to protecting against diseases including heart disease, diabetes, depression, and cancer. “Unfortunately, many people fail to exercise enough, for reasons such as injury and computer usage,” he says in a statement.
The new research paper focused on a specific protein found in mice and humans called Piezo1. This protein is responsible for increasing blood pressure during exercise, which has been shown to help enhance physical performance.
The study’s experiment compared mice whose Piezo1 levels were interrupted for 10 weeks (the variant group) to a control group of mice with normal Piezo1 levels. Researchers had both mice groups complete physical activities such as walking, wheel running, and climbing. Afterwards, they measured each group’s activity levels to better understand Piezo1’s role in exercise.
Researchers found that the variant group showed reduced activity levels when compared to the control group. While there was no difference in exercise duration, the mice with interrupted Piezo1 quantities completed fewer running wheel laps per exercise session and had a slower running speed.
The finding suggests that deactivated Piezo1 levels contribute to a decreased ability to exercise. “Our discovery also provides an opportunity to think about how loss of muscle function could be treated in new ways,” supervising author David Beech, PhD, says. “If we activate Piezo1, it might help to maintain exercise capability.”
Staying active is vital to ensuring that your Piezo1 protein is always in high gear. But if you think you need to spend hours exercising each day to do this, think again. Previous research linked doing 10 minutes of moderate intensity exercises like Zumba, swimming, or taking an afternoon stroll every day with boosting longevity. Also, there are quick exercises that you can do while sitting that help burn belly fat (a win-win!).
As for me, this new study will motivate me to keep my old habits of not exercising every day at bay!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.