- Researchers from Cambridge University published a meta-analysis in
PLOS ONEidentifying 13 candidate genes associated with fitness outcomes in previously untrained people.
- Genetic influences accounted for 72% of the difference in the results of those in the strength training group.
- Genetic factors had less effect on the outcomes in the aerobic (44%) and anaerobic power groups (10%).
- Further research is necessary to determine the exact roles of fitness genes and how best to tailor exercise training according to genetic makeup.
Physical activity is
The three components necessary to determine health-related fitness are cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and anaerobic power. Cardiovascular or
The maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max) test is one way to determine cardiorespiratory fitness. The VO2 max test measures the body’s maximum oxygen consumption capacity during a vigorous intensity activity, such as running on a treadmill.
A higher VO2 max indicates an improved ability to supply and utilize oxygen and maintain aerobic activities at an increased intensity for extended periods. Low cardiorespiratory fitness is a predictor of cardiovascular disease and death from all causes in adults.
Muscular strength is the body’s capability to exert a sufficient force against external resistance to perform tasks and maintain mobility.
An anaerobic activity is one that involves the breakdown of glucose for energy without using oxygen. Anaerobic power measures the body’s ability to move with the greatest intensity in a short period.
Increasing cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength, and anaerobic power may improve a person’s overall fitness level, but responsiveness to exercise training varies considerably among individuals.
In a session at the 22nd Annual Congress of the European College of Sports Science, Dr. Bernd Wolfarth, professor in the Department of Sports Medicine at Humboldt University, Berlin, explains, “Environment is a major factor [for trainability], and nowadays, we know that about 25–40% of the variability of phenotype results from genes, and the other 60–75% is coming [from] environmental effects.”
Specific genes called
These findings led researchers from the Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University, UK, to conduct a meta-analysis to identify the