Hate working out? Your DNA may be to blame
Can you be genetically predisposed to dislike exercise?
A new study says yes. The study tracked the exercise habits and feelings towards exercise of 115 pairs of identical twins, 111 pairs of fraternal twins and 35 of their non-twin siblings. Lifestyle interviews were conducted prior to the study to gauge exercise habits. Each participant then completed a 20-minute stationary bike ride and run. After, participants were asked how they felt and their opinions towards the exercise routine.
As a result, researchers found genetics can account for anywhere from 12 to 37 percent of the amount of enjoyment we may feel towards exercise. The study also proved the more a person said they enjoyed exercise, the more likely they were to routinely workout.
While this study does not guarantee a full-proof cause and effect as to why we may or may not workout, the study does demonstrate the association between genetics and how they can affect our feelings towards certain activities such as exercise.
“This study is an important reminder that attitude and mentality towards exercising is just as important as physical build and attributes,” says Dr. Emelie Ilarde, a family medicine physician at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. “It would be tremendously important and helpful for a physical trainer to know if their client is predisposed to feel negatively about routine exercise before even trying it. This way, the trainer can know right away that they may have to be more creative and patient with their approach.”
Similarly, Dr. James Maddux, an emeritus professor in psychology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., told HealthDay that understanding genetics may cause a predisposition towards exercise can help with the creation of individualized exercise programs.
Dr. Maddux said this research can prove to be helpful in other ways, as well. For example, “Knowing that there is a genetic contribution may help the high-exercise-discomfort person engage in less self-blame, which can be demoralizing and discouraging.”
“Predisposed or not, it’s imperative you share your feelings towards exercise with your trainer or doctor so that he or she can determine how to best help you.” says Dr. Ilarde. “Everyone experiences exercise differently, and as a person who wants to be there to help you reach your fitness goals and stay healthy, it’s important that I know how you feel during the process.”
About the Author
Jamie Bonnema, health enews contributor, is a specialist of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. She earned her BA in communications from DePaul University in Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, going to concerts, and cheering on the Chicago Cubs.