Study Shows Desire to Exercise May Be Genetic

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • Some recent scientific studies set out to look at twins in order to explore the possibility that some of us may be wired from birth with regards to how we interact with exercise.  It's a case of "exercise preference" which means that some of us may indeed be more into exercising.    


    The science behind the study was to look at identical twins and fraternal twins.  Using these two pools allows researchers to look at behaviors to see if they are influenced by genetics or by environment.  Across the board, identical twins were more likely to share an exercise pattern, when compared to fraternal twins.

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    The study, published in 2006, surprised scientists and health professionals, since most people up until then had not considered the possibility that exercise behavior could be a domain that would be impacted by genetics.  Research since then has continued to support the findings from this study.  One in particular found that people who were "active" but not necessarily athletic shared similar variations on several different genes.  One of the genes seems to involve how people respond to fatigue - which can make the prospect of exercising more or less appealing.  Another gene impacts whether or not exercise feels easy and mentally rewarding.  And one other gene affects how well energy is regulated, which can have a direct effect on desire to exercise.


    The basis of importance of these findings is the possibility that researchers can somehow create "interventions" that specifically address these gene variants.  If we can make exercise easier, more enjoyable, more rewarding, then maybe those individuals who choose not to exercise, even though they know it's a healthy habit, may now be drawn to it.  Still researchers say, the choice to "exercise or not" regardless of these subtle gene variations lies within you.  Just do it - but you can do it your way.


Published On: June 23, 2010