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Science & Medicine: Exercise affects men and women differently

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Roberto Martinez

Exercise impacts men and women differently. That’s one of the conclusions of a study published in early May in “Nature” that used data gathered at UT Health San Antonio. It’s part of a nationwide, multi-site study on exercise and the human body. Blake Rasmussen, PhD, heads the San Antonio site of the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium, known as MoTrPAC.

“I kind of refer to it as the human genome project for exercise,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen is the director of the Center for Metabolic Health with the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at UT Health San Antonio. He said one of the goals of MoTrPAC is to figure out exactly why exercise is good for you.

“We know a lot of the things that [it] benefits. Lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, stronger heart…But we're really interested in what's happening at the genetic level,” he explained.

Rasmussen said this research should offer an unprecedented, comprehensive view of how and why moving your body improves your health, and will ultimately lead to the development of a map that will show, in detail, how physical activity affects the human body.

“That map will be on the NIH website, freely available to the public and freely available to researchers at some point in the next few years, when we finish the human study,” said Rasmussen.

Dr. Blake Rasmussen's research is in the area of muscle physiology and metabolism.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Blake Rasmussen, PhD, researches physiology and metabolism.

Rasmussen’s lab also contributed data that led researchers to determine that exercise impacts every type of tissue.

“So you're just maybe using your muscles and your blood and your heart to run on the treadmill, but your kidneys, the adrenal glands, the liver, the adipose tissue, the brain, they're all being impacted by exercise,” he said.

UT Health San Antonio is looking for more people to participate in the MoTrPAC study. You can get more information about how to participate here.

Science & Medicine is a collaboration between TPR and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio that explores how scientific discovery in San Antonio advances the way medicine is practiced everywhere.