A study done at the University of Sweden suggests that we can! Cells in the body – including fat cells – contain DNA, which is where our genetic information is stored. A small group of 23 sedentary men were followed for 6 months and were asked to exercise 3 times per week without changing their diet or normal daily activities. As expected, the men only exercised an average of 1.8 times per week. However, it was still enough for the researchers to see changes in the DNA.
The methyl groups (molecules that are within the genes) help determine which genes are activated or deactivated. They found that these activations/deactivations were changed in the fat cells when these men exercised. Researchers also found positive changes in genes traditionally linked to Type II diabetes.
This could explain why exercise is so beneficial to certain risk factors, and that yes, we can make positive changes to our health through exercise.Resource: Exercise Etc.