“Sport skill acquisition doesn’t happen without both specific genes and a specific environment, and often the genes and the environment must coincide at a specific time.” The best study on this is called the Heritage Family Study, which subjected 98 two-generation families to stationary bicycle-training regimens to increase fitness, as measured by aerobic capacity, or VO2 max—the amount of oxygen a person’s body can use. All the families received the same training of three workouts per week of increasing intensity, and DNA was taken from all 481 participants. The results were startling: The range in VO2 max improvement spanned from 0% to 100%, depending on the family heritage. About 15% of participants showed little to no improvement, while another 15% increased their VO2max by 50% or more. According to the study’s principle investigator, Claude Bouchard, “the range of response to training was six to nine times larger between pairs of brothers than within pairs.”
In other words, genes matter. How much? “Statistical analysis showed that about half of each person’s ability to improve their aerobic capacity with training was determined exclusively by their parents,” Mr. Epstein explains. “The amount that any person improved in the study had nothing to do with how aerobically fit he or she was relative to others to begin with.” Rather, it had to do with genetic inheritance.
I plan to read the referenced Heritage Family Study to learn more about the coincidence of genes and environment.
“…the effect of regular exercise on mild to moderate forms of depression is similar to the effect of cognitive behavioral therapy, according to the co-authors of the book “Exercise for Mood and Anxiety,” Jasper Smits, associate professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and Michael Otto, a psychologist at Boston University. The two authors analyzed the results of dozens of published population-based and clinical studies related to exercise and mental health to arrive at their findings.
There’s little consensus on how or why exercise helps, but Smits says the public health recommendation for daily exercise — 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate activity — should be more widely prescribed by mental-health care providers, especially as studies show that 25% to 40% of Americans don’t exercise at all. “Some professionals argue that exercise is the non-pharmacological antidepressant and may work in the same way as these medications,” he says.”
Try to go get those runner’s highs or at least get of the couch.
Ah – the anti-oxidant paradox, as recently cited in the Atlantic Magazine . . .
No matter how you ingest and absorb the many anti-oxidants we should get from regular BALANCED diets in a perfect world; higher levels are better to counter oxidative free radicals. Granted, those free radical “scavengers” can have good specific roles in our bodies and YES – free radicals are outputs of aerobic exercise.
Stress, sun and smoke are major generators of these scavengers – DUH, we all are in Nirvana if we can avoid all three plus excessive body mass. As I don’t live in Nirvana, I don’t like scavengers while I do have a newfound appreciation for scavenger hunting as my own life insurance policy and personal injury protection.
This Pharmanex graphic relates weight (BMI), dietary habits, supplementation and lifestyle choices to a scaled results of anti-oxidant scans. Note: Each individual is different in his/her ability to absorb healthy anti-oxidants so baseline measures vary.
Yet it is also an individual choice to acquire “life insurance and personal injury protection.
Mum Nature’s June heatwave experienced by many of us stimulated my log entry for proper hydration. So very important – Yes?
As some know – too much of a good thing is NOT wonderful (pardon me, Mae West). Isolated folks have died from OVER-hydrating in aerobic distance events. Hyponatremia is that rare occurrence of too low sodium from too much hydration.
Putting that outlying, scary fact aside – let’s remember that dehydration of ONLY 1-2 percent or so of your body weight is often an early and prominent sign of fatigue before, during and post- aerobic exercise.
What is a Layperson’s quick assessment of hydration/dehydration?
One’s urine color (DO peek before you exercise heavily). If DARK – DRINK! Note: You may have some temporary colorations after taking multi-vitamins. Yet the watery bottom line is that Dark is NOT good unless you want to be tired and underperform.
So what about carbo / electrolyte supplements for exercise? A rule of thumb I follow is that plain old water is fine for aerobics of 30 minutes or less (and I’m a sweat hog). When I do sip enhanced water – I drink variants with a tad of protein.