Training

Does Living Near A Gym Make You Fitter? | This Week’s Top Studies

With gyms still closed, many of us are trying to get the most out of our home workouts and nutrition to keep our goals on track. Well, what better way to do this than with the latest in sport and nutrition science? 

This week, we’re looking at proteins cleaning post-workout muscles and whether your proximity to fast food can affect your weight. Let’s get stuck in… 

 

The protein “cleaning up” your muscles

 

First off, you might be thinking “hang on, doesn’t all protein help build muscle?”. While you’d be right, researchers have found one particular protein that helps target old worn out muscles so that they can be replaced with the new. 

We know that exercise helps us to build muscle, but this little protein, Ubiquitin, has shown us a part of how this actually happens. This new study has demonstrated that during intense exercise, there’s a significant increase in the activity of Ubiquitin. 

This protein is used in the body to mark muscle protein that’s old and worn out by attaching itself to the amino acid, Lysine, in these proteinsThis leads to the protein being transported and broken down back into amino acids, so that they can be used again to build new proteins (and new muscle). 

Up until this study, not very much has been known about these proteins that essentially “clean up” the old, worn out muscle proteins. Now, we know a bit more behind the processes that leads to the muscle-building benefits of exercise. 

There’s still a lot to learn here, as this experiment focused on just intense cycling. How does Ubiquitin production differ in different exercise regimes, a larger sample of participants, or different genders? We’ll have to wait on more evidence to find out. 

 

Does living near a gym make you fitter?

We mean, obviously you have to attend the gym in the first place to see a difference, but are you more likely to stay fit, or on the other hand, eat poorly if you live in close proximity to a gym vs a fast food joint? 

Well, according to a new study, you can rest easy about moving round the corner from the chippy, as a new study has found no relationship between your weight and how close you live to a fast food restaurant or the gym. 

We know multiple factors can affect our health and our fitness, from socio-economic differences, to the jobs that we do, so it’s no surprise that many people have assumed that your local environment can impact your health too. 

This study of 1.5 million adults in Sweden, however, didn’t find any statistically significant links between proximity to either a gym or a fast food joint and our weight. While this could be down to culture — perhaps the Swedes have more self-control than us Brits when they sniff that takeaway smell, it’s definitely interesting. 

The real question remains, then — what does make us more likely to choose the gym over a takeaway?  

 

Take home message

We hope you loved learning a little more about how muscles are made as much as we did — and we look forward to some bigger studies on this stuff. With gyms and restaurants closed at the moment, you may be calling up your local takeaway slightly more often than you used to, but who can blame you really? It’s good to know that science is on your side, anyway. 

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1. Parker, B. L., Kiens, B., Wojtaszewski, J. F., Richter, E. A., & James, D. E. (2020). Quantification of exercise‐regulated ubiquitin signaling in human skeletal muscle identifies protein modification cross talk via NEDDylationThe FASEB Journal34(4), 5906-5916.

2. Okuyama, K., Li, X., Abe, T. et al. Fast food outlets, physical activity facilities, and obesity among adults: a nationwide longitudinal study from Sweden. Int J Obes (2020).



Evangeline Howarth

Evangeline Howarth

Writer and expert

Evangeline is a Veganuary convert and newbie vegan with a degree in English and French from the University of Nottingham. Having recently ditched the meat and dairy, she really enjoys the new flavours and cooking techniques she’s encountered on a plant-based diet. She’s been shocked by the millions of ways you can use tofu, however still hasn’t found a decent cheese substitute! When she’s not in the office or eating, Evangeline usually out running or sailing. As a qualified RYA Dinghy Instructor and a marathon runner, she knows the importance of providing your body with the right nutrients for endurance sports as well as a busy lifestyle. Find out more about Evie's experience here.


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