There isn’t much the body CAN’T regenerate

Posted on July 2, 2018

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(Last Updated On: July 2, 2018)

There are three common areas people have either been told, or somehow started to believe, can’t regenerate. That once the area has been injured, or started to degrade, you can’t do anything about it. They are the,

  1. Brain
  2. Heart
  3. Cartilage

Scientifically, this has also been the case. Many in science used to think certain structures never regenerated. That was false, which science of course now knows, yet it hasn’t pervaded the mainstream much, if at all.

 

I’ve written about the brain before in,

Some exercise advice for former football players (worried about CTE)

Worried about dementia? Stop thinking and start moving

How quickly can your brain atrophy?

 

Here is a new study on the heart (albeit in mice),

Exercise may help make heart younger

 

I’ve also written about cartilage / the knee in,

How sitting kills you(r knees)

And recommend,

Saving My Knees: How I Proved My Doctors Wrong and Beat Chronic Knee Pain

Which has a nice accessible look at some research proving cartilage can regenerate and thicken.

-I’ve written about running *decreasing* arthritis risk, and this is why- the cartilage adapts.

 

Granted, there are certainly times the body has a LIMITED capacity to regenerate. The above tend to fit in that category. But limited and non-existent are very different. It gives a lot more peace of mind and hope when you tell someone something can be changed.

“Hey, it might not be like your 18 again, but you can certainly make progress”

is a lot better than

“Just live with it ’til you die #AgingSucks”

 

And of course, what’s key to getting all the above to regenerate? Exercise!

As a bit of a tangent- we can fit cancer in here too. Many assume once you have cancer it’s all on the doctors to do something. Yet there is research showing being active AFTER a cancer diagnosis can significantly improve survival odds.

Exercise and cancer- why it helps and how much is enough? (part 3)

There are exceptions: complete ruptures of ligaments / muscles / tendons being the most notable. When something rips off the bone, it ain’t likely to reconnect itself. Though you’d be surprised how well some can manage with these issues provided exercise is incorporated.

Talking about how many can get by with a torn ACL, at least to some degree

If you completely tear your ACL (ligament), Achilles (tendon), or Pec (muscle / tendon), those aren’t going to regenerate. Humans seem to have an issue where once something is disconnected, we’re a bit screwed. When a limb gets cut off, we don’t have a lizard like ability to regrow it.

Bone can be somewhat included in the exception category. While we can heal many fractures -another form of a disconnection- we still often go with surgery.

Basically, surgery is to reconnect the area, where afterwards the body takes over.

Thus, even in those extreme cases, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Annnnnd, of course, what is part of that light? What do we know improves outcomes after a surgery like the above? Exercise!

Nobody is saying exercise is curing aging. That’s not the point. What we’re saying is your average person is so sedentary, their heart, brain, muscles, bones, are much more aged than necessary. By getting active, they can make themselves younger again.

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