Are you one of those people who come out of an exercise class or a gym session buzzing with an endorphin high and sporting a self-satisfied grin? Or do you find it all unpleasant and unrewarding? If so, it might be to do with your genes.
A recent twin study from VU University in Amsterdam has found that there is something called an ‘affective response to exercise’. While exercising, participants rated how they were feeling on a scale from very bad to very good, how much they felt they were exerting themselves, and how much they were feeling various states, such as energetic, lively, jittery or tense. From these measures, the researchers established the participants’ affective response to exercise. By looking to see if affective response to exercise was more similar between identical twins than non-identical twins, the researchers were able to deduce how much it is genetically inherited – and it was found to be a significant correlation.
Of course, it’s possible that doing more exercise can change how we experience exercise. Yet whether we experience exercise as pleasant or unpleasant is to a significant degree influenced by our genes. Perhaps most interesting (for me, anyway) is the practical implications that this could have for interventions to help people exercise more. If you’re someone who is genetically inclined to find exercise less enjoyable and gratifying, you might benefit from personalised exercise programmes that aim to reduce its laboriousness and make it as rewarding as possible.
Hi, I'm Joanna from Clean Well-Being.
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