Exercise increases the concentration of molecules known as free radicals. A free radical is a molecule that’s missing at least one electron in its outermost orbit, which causes it to be negatively charged. Traditionally, research has linked increased production of free radicals with damage to DNA, increased muscle breakdown and accelerated aging. Accordingly, various strategies have been employed to not only reduce free radical production, but to also augment antioxidant concentrations. However, paradoxically, more recent research has demonstrated that increased free radical production post-exercise actually serves as an important signaling mechanism for favorable training adaptations. In other words, it might be time to reevaluate your assumptions about free radicals, antioxidants and exercise.