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This week: Physical activity helps prevent arthritis cartilage damage • Exercising mums-to-be prevent obesity in offspring • Anytime Fitness partners with RU OK?

Physical activity helps prevent arthritis cartilage damage

Exercise helps to prevent the degradation of cartilage caused by osteoarthritis, according to a new study from Queen Mary University of London.

The research shows how mechanical forces experienced by cells in joints during exercise prevent cartilage degradation by suppressing the action of inflammatory molecules which cause osteoarthritis.

The study, published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, demonstrates the benefits of exercise on the tissues that form our joints and how this is down to tiny hair-like structures called primary cilia found on living cells.

During exercise the cartilage in joints such as the hip and knee is squashed. This mechanical distortion is detected by the living cells in the cartilage which then block the action of inflammatory molecules associated with conditions such as arthritis.

The researchers showed that this anti-inflammatory effect of physical activity is caused by the activation of a particular protein, called HDAC6, which triggers changes in the proteins that form primary cilia.

Pharmaceutical drugs that blocked HDAC6 activation prevented the anti-inflammatory effects of physical activity, whilst other drug treatments were able to mimic the benefits of exercise.

Changes in length of the primary cilia, which are only a few 1000th of a millimetre, provided a biomarker of the level of inflammation. Cilia got longer during inflammation, but treatments that prevented this elongation successfully prevented inflammation.

Professor Martin Knight, lead researcher of the study, said ‘These findings may also explain the anti-inflammatory effects of normal blood flow in arteries which is important for preventing arterial disease such as atherosclerosis and aneurism.’

The researchers hope that these findings will help in the search for treatments for arthritis and suggested the results may lead to a whole new therapeutic approach known as mechano-medicine in which drugs simulate the effect of mechanical forces to prevent the damaging effects of inflammation and treat conditions such as arthritis.

Source: Queen Mary University of London

Exercising mums-to-be prevent obesity in offspring

A new study has found that offspring born to healthy-weight-range mice that exercised during pregnancy were less likely to gain weight after consuming a high-fat diet later in life.

Previous studies have shown that exercise by obese females benefits their offspring, but this new research is the first to demonstrate the same effect in non-obese females.

‘Based on our findings, we recommend that women, whether or not they are obese or have diabetes, exercise regularly during pregnancy because it benefits their children’s metabolic health’ said Jun Seok Son, a doctoral student at the Washington State University who conducted the study.

The researchers examined the offspring of mice that performed 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every morning during pregnancy. Offspring born to mice that didn’t exercise were used as a control group.

At weaning, the offspring of the exercising mice showed increased levels of proteins associated with brown adipose tissue compared to the control group. This type of tissue converts fat and sugar into heat. The researchers also observed higher body temperatures in the exercise group, indicating that their brown adipose tissue was more efficient, or had a higher thermogenic function, which has been shown to prevent obesity and metabolic problems.

After weaning, the offspring followed a high-fat diet for eight weeks. The mice in the exercise group not only gained less weight on the high-fat diet but also showed fewer symptoms of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and fatty liver disease.

‘Our data suggest that the lack of exercise in healthy women during pregnancy can predispose their children to obesity and associated metabolic diseases partially through impairing thermogenic function’ said Son.

Source: ScienceDaily

Anytime Fitness partners with RU OK?

Australia’s largest gym chain, Anytime Fitness, recently announced a new partnership with suicide prevention charity, R U OK?

Anytime Fitness will support the work of R U OK? via the annual fundraising challenge, Tread As One. Since 2017, Anytime Fitness has held a 24-hour fundraising drive that calls on members of the community to complete a treadmill challenge. This sees the clubs keep one or more of their treadmills running for a full 24 hours, while participants receive donations for every 15-minute slot they complete on the treadmill. Some Anytime Fitness clubs have even seen members undertake the full 24 hours on their own!

Suicide prevention awareness is a core value of Anytime Fitness and the parent company, Collective Wellness Group.

Anytime Fitness General Manager, Gordon Martin said, ‘Anytime Fitness lives in the heartland of Australia. Our franchisees, members and staff all over the country look to their local Anytime Fitness as an integral part of their community. We are proud to play such an important role in the lives of Aussies and continue to do so with the Tread As One initiative and R U OK?’

‘With 89% of Australians reporting that they know someone who has made a suicide attempt, inspiring and empowering individuals to start a conversation with someone who might be struggling with life is much needed.’

R U OK? is one of Australia’s most recognised suicide prevention charities. The organisation encourages people to hold meaningful conversations with those around them and ask ‘Are you OK?’. Peer-to-peer support can save lives and R U OK? works to equip people with the skills and confidence to navigate a conversation when someone says ‘No, I’m not OK.’

Katherine Newton, R U OK? CEO said, ‘We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Anytime Fitness and spread the R U OK? message through its vibrant community. We know that making regular visits to the gym and being with our gym buddies can provide a sense of belonging. We want members to look out for each other and trust their gut when they notice the signs that someone in their gym community might be struggling with life.’

The Anytime Fitness treadmill challenge was originally started by community, for community, when a group of friends who were bereaved by suicide held a 24-hour challenge with one treadmill in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. It has now grown to hundreds of locations with thousands of community members coming together to bring mental health awareness to light. Since 2017, Anytime Fitness has raised over $800,000 for mental health charities.

Tread As One 2019 runs from Friday 31 May to Saturday 1 June, at participating Anytime Fitness clubs nationwide. Open to Anytime Fitness members and the community as a whole, participants can register from April 16th at

Source: Anytime Fitness

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