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Overview

Your joints and muscles have a certain range of motion that the body allows. Flexibility is the ability of the body to move freely through this allowed range. Flexibility is also known as limberness. The parts engaged more while moving are usually more flexible than those that are not put to much use.

Some people are more flexible than others. Genetics play a role in determining how flexible your joints and muscles are. Exercise can also improve a person’s flexibility to a certain extent.

There are two types of flexibility.

Dynamic flexibility - The ability to move joints to the maximum of their allowed range of motion (e.g., bending down to pick up an item or stretching to take something from a higher shelf).
Static flexibility - The ability to maintain a position for a longer time without any external support (e.g., lifting your leg and keeping it high without holding any support).

Importance Of Flexibility

Reduced Injury Risk

When you have higher flexibility, your body can handle physical stress much better. Hence, when you are exercising or doing a strenuous physical activity, the chances of getting hurt are lesser.

Improved Balance and Posture

A study concluded that people who take up flexibility exercises and stretching two times a week for 12 weeks saw improved balance and lumbar strength.

Improved Athletic Performance

A study that explored the effects of yoga on athletes reported that yoga improved flexibility in adult athletes. Flexibility, in turn, improved athletic performance.

Lesser Body Pain

When your body is more flexible, the muscles are better relaxed. This reduces general body pain in adults and children.

Reduced Risk of Heart Diseases

A 2009 article relates poor trunk flexibility to increased risks of arterial stiffening. Arterial stiffening is the stiffening and thickening of the artery walls that can lead to heart diseases.

Is Flexibility Genetic?

The Influence of ACTN3 Gene on Flexibility

The ACTN3 gene helps produce the Alpha-actinin protein. This protein gives structure to muscles in the body.

A 2014 study analyzed the effects of polymorphism of the ACTN3 gene in flexibility and injury risk in ballet dancers in Korea.

The result concluded that those ballerinas with the ACTN3 TT genotype of the rs1815739 SNP are less flexible than others and have higher risks for ankle-joint injuries. Ballerinas with the CT and CC genotype were more flexible and hence had lesser risks for injuries.

The Influence of COL5A1 Gene on Flexibility

The COL5A1 gene is called the ‘flexibility gene.’ This helps produce the type V collagen. Collagen helps in strengthening your bones, muscles, skin, and tendons. It keeps your joints mobile and flexible. Lowered levels of collagen can result in stiffness and reduced flexibility.

rs12722 is an SNP of the COL5A1 gene. The T allele of this SNP causes quadricep stiffness and an increased risk of muscle injuries while the C allele is not associated with flexibility issues.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a genetic disorder that results in loose joints, very stretchy skin, and overly flexible joints. People with the syndrome have extra ranges of joint movements, also called hypermobility. EDS can cause joint pain, frequent injuries, and bruises in the skin.

More than 100 different mutations in the COL5A1 gene are noted in people with EDS.

Non-genetic Factors Affecting Flexibility

Age - Newborns are extremely flexible. Flexibility in the body reduces as you age. After 55 years of age, collagen production reduces, and tissues start losing water. This brings down flexibility levels.

Body Bulk - If you have more bulky, it may be difficult to stretch or move limbs and muscles.

Gender - Women are considered more flexible than men.

The temperature and time of the day - You might be surprised, but your body’s flexibility depends on what time of the day it is and the external temperature. Warmer climates improve flexibility, and people are more flexible in the afternoons than in the mornings.

Over-flexibility - Is It a Problem?

Over-flexibility is a problem when your muscles, ligaments, and tendons stretch beyond what’s normal for them. It puts stress on your tendons and ligaments and results in injuries.

Ligaments are not to be stretched more than 6% of their length. Some people can be over flexible because of their genes, which increases their risks of injuries and ligament tear.

Recommendations To Improve Flexibility

Exercise Right

Yoga, stretching exercises, pilates, etc., are all different kinds of exercises that help improve your flexibility. All these exercises gently stretch muscles and improve mobility.

Practice Static Flexible Exercises

Static flexible exercises require you to hold a stretch or a position for 30 -60 seconds before relaxing. Static flexible exercises help improve flexibility.

Relax Your Muscles

Taking a warm water bath can instantly relax your muscles and improve your flexibility.

Professional massages

When done right, massages can help improve flexibility and your range of motion, keeping your joints stronger and agile.

Hydration

Water is essential for the normal functioning of the body. Dehydration can cause inflexibility and limit your range of motion. Make sure you drink adequate water to improve flexibility.

Stay Stress-free

Stress is known to tighten muscles and decrease physical flexibility. Working on mental stress levels can help the muscles relax and improve your flexibility levels.

Summary

References

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2017.01080/full
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241924/
https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/gene/col5a1/#conditions
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4523805/
https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/EP085974
https://sites.psu.edu/kinescfw/health-education/exercise-articles/the-importance-of-flexibility-and-mobility/
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002929707635290

About Xcode Life's Gene Fitness Report

 

 

Update on 16th January, 2021

Abstract

ACTN3, popularly called the Speed Gene, is responsible for the production of α-actinin-3, a protein expressed in fast-firing skeletal muscle fibers. This protein is deficient in approximately 1.5 billion people worldwide.

Previous studies indicate that α-actinin-3 is associated with muscle function, and an α-actinin-3 deficiency adversely affects performance in speed and power activities. Recent research suggests that α-actinin-3 deficiency generates heat in the body (thermogenesis), and as a result, α-actinin-3 deficient humans adapt better to lower temperatures.

What Is -actinin-3?

The α-actinin-3 protein was first identified during research into muscular dystrophy defects. Further studies showed that a deficiency of α-actinin-3 was common- roughly 18% of the world population has an ACTN3 deficiency mutation. This deficiency correlates with the following factors:

A previous study exploring the evolutionary implications of α-actinin-3 deficiency indicated that a version of the ACTN3 gene became more abundant as humans migrated out of Africa into the colder climates of Northern and Central Europe.

Studies also suggest that an X derivative of the ACTN3 gene is overexpressed among marathoners and endurance athletes but underexpressed in sprinters. The X derivative indicates an incomplete ACTN3 gene and is thereby associated with α-actinin-3 deficiency.

In general, an α-actinin-3 deficiency is detrimental for sprint and power activities. Evolutionary evidence also indicates a strong positive selection of the X derivative of the ACTN3 gene in European and East Asian populations. Positive selection is the process by which the "advantageous" changes or gene variants are passed on consistently in a population.

Loss of α-actinin-3 and Better Cold Resilience

A study conducted by a team of researchers examined the mechanism responsible for the positive selection of the X derivative of the ACTN3 gene. It aimed to understand the thermogenic role of skeletal muscle during cold exposure in humans.

The study was conducted on the following two groups: Healthy males aged 18 to 40 years, residing in Kaunas, Lithuania. They followed moderate physical activity and had no exposure to an extreme temperature for at least three months prior to the study. Thirteen age-matched 3-month-old wild-type mice and mice with inactivated ACTN3 genes, housed in a specific-pathogen-free environment. They were maintained at a constant ambient temperature of 22°C and 50% humidity on a 12 h light-dark cycle, with limited access to food and water.

The following parameters were measured in humans:

Based on the above parameters, the following were calculated:

Coldwater exposure was conducted as follows:

The following parameters were examined in both humans and mice:

Apart from these, protein analyses in humans and RNA sequencing in mice were performed, and the data obtained were statistically analyzed.

The Results of the Study

The study observed that the percentage of individuals able to maintain their body temperature above 35.5°C during the cold-water exposure was higher in the ACTN3 deficient (XX) group than the ACTN3 efficient (RR) group. However, there was a significant overall increase in energy consumption induced by the cold irrespective of the ACTN3 gene status. This implies that α-actinin-3-deficient individuals exhibit superior protection of core body temperature during cold exposure without a corresponding increase in energy consumption.

Researchers suggest a physiological mechanism underlying the energy-efficient cold protection in XX individuals. Mammals regulate their body temperature when exposed to acute cold temperatures through involuntary muscle contraction. This is colloquially referred to as shivering - this activity was twice as high in RR individuals as in XX individuals. In individuals with the X derivative, these contractions most likely happen in slow twitch-type muscles with a heat-generating increase in muscle tone. This conserves more energy when compared to shivering.

The X derivative of the ACTN3 gene occurs more commonly in people living in colder climates, indicating an evolutionary survival advantage of α-actinin-3 deficiency as humans migrated to colder places.

In conclusion, α-actinin-3-deficient humans use a more energy-efficient mechanism of generating body heat, thereby exhibiting improved cold tolerance.

Recommendations to Improve Cold Resilience

Summary

Xcode Life’s Gene Fitness report analyzes genes associated with your physical fitness, sports performance, and athletic ability. The report can help modify your fitness training according to your genetic type for better results.

Genetics and Fitness

Genetics is becoming more popular in the field of sports and fitness. Professional sports teams around the world are beginning to incorporate genetics in their fitness regime. Research shows that your efficiency in performing certain physical activities is linked to your genes.

Gene Fitness Report

The Gene Fitness Report profiles genes that have been shown to influence endurance, performance, aerobic capacity, power, strength, and other attributes related to fitness. 

The Key Takeaways section of the report highlights how you are likely to respond to power and endurance exercises. Based on your genetic type, you will also find a personalized exercise plan, including the frequency, duration, intensity, and type of exercise that would best suit you.

Xcode Life Gene Fitness: Key Takeaways
Xcode Life Gene Fitness report: Key Takeaways 2

The Summary Table in the report indicates your outcome for each trait.

summary_fit.png

Along with your outcome, the details of the genes analyzed for each trait are also provided. The report comes with personalized recommendations based on your results. These recommendations are to be followed only after consulting a trained fitness professional. You can click on “Learn More” for more information on each trait.

Gene Fitness report: Learn more

What are the traits covered in this report?

The report analyzes genes associated with 16 fitness traits which include, power, flexibility, exercise motivation, the likelihood of injury, and weight loss or weight gain with exercise. For a comprehensive list of the traits covered, click here.

Exercise is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise makes you fit, healthy, and improves your stamina.
An important part of any exercise regimen is the rest period that aids recovery.

Exercise recovery is a series of steps/techniques you follow to recover from exercising. There are two basic types of exercise recovery.

Active exercise recovery - This includes performing light and low-impact exercises after a period of intense exercising. It helps your body cool down. Yoga, foam rolling, cycling, and walking are all active exercise recovery activities.
Passive exercise recovery - Passive recovery involves pausing your workout and resting. This is a state of complete inactiveness.

For regular healthy individuals, active exercise recovery is more beneficial than passive exercise recovery.

Some people can quickly recover from intense workouts, while others take more time.

Importance of exercise recovery

Muscles need anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to recover and rebuild.

If you are overworking the same muscles every day without any recovery period, you do more harm to your body than good.

Reduces Lactic Acid Build-up In The Body

Lactic acid builds up in the body due to intense exercise. Lactic acid build-up can cause sore muscles and pain. Exercise recovery prevents lactic acid build-up.

Reduces Soreness

Muscle soreness is a common problem after exercise. Active exercise recovery can help prevent this.

Improves Performance

Recovery prevents the onset of fatigue and keeps your energy levels high. Both of these factors augment athletic performance.

Overtraining syndrome (OTS) - Overtraining syndrome is a condition where you exercise more than what your body can handle. Overtraining results in the body not being able to recover back from the workout.

Lack of exercise recovery can result in overtraining syndrome. Here are the signs of OTS to look out for.
- Consistent muscle pain and soreness
- Continuously high heart rate
- Irritability and mental breakdown
- Burnout
- Constant feeling of tiredness

How does Genetics affect Exercise Recovery

The average time needed to recover from exercises depends on your genes. Some people are genetically designed to recover quickly, while others take more time. While many genes are involved in deciding your exercise recovery rate, two commonly discussed ones are the MMP3 and CKM.

MMP3 gene

The MMP3 gene helps produce a protein that breaks down collagen, fibronectin, and other kinds of structural proteins as a part of normal growth and development. This enzyme is important for repairing muscles and tissues.

A 2009 study discussed the effects of three polymorphisms of the MMP3 gene and the risks of developing Achilles tendinopathy. This is a condition that causes pain, inflammation, and stiffness of the Achilles tendon. Achilles tendon is a long band of fiber that connects the calf to the bone in the heel.

One of the major causes of Achilles tendinopathy is excessive workout or strain in the calf muscle because of the lack of sufficient exercise recovery period.

rs591058, rs679620, and rs650108 are three variants of the MMP3 gene that can increase your risk for developing Achilles tendinopathy. The CC genotype of rs591058, GG genotype of rs679620, and the AA genotype of rs650108 contribute to the risk.

The exercise recovery time may be higher for people who have these genotypes.

CKM Gene

Creatine Kinase, M-type (CKM) is a gene that helps maintain stable energy levels in the body. This gene is also associated with muscle repair and inflammatory response.

A variant of this gene has been associated with exercise recovery time. People with the TT genotype require more time for exercise recovery when compared to the GG genotype.

Non-genetic factors influencing exercise recovery

Age - As you grow older, it takes a longer time to recover from the strain you put on your muscles and tissues. Exercise-related injuries also take a longer time to heal.

Diet - The food you eat can extend or shorten your recovery period after intense exercise. If you eat nutritious and healthy foods, you recover faster from the strain of exercising.

The kind of exercise - Low-intensity exercises require shorter recovery periods, while high-intensity exercises warrant longer ones.

Physical state - Healthier individuals have shorter exercise recovery periods than those with existing medical conditions.

Stress levels - Mentally stressed people find themselves taking a long time to recover from intense exercises. Highly stressed individuals will do better with low-intensity exercises like yoga and Tai Chi.

Taking long days of break from exercising - Just like how a machine that keeps running every day works better than a machine that is left to rust with inactivity, your body will recover faster from exercise if you keep training. On days you don’t exercise, practice low-intensity stretching, yoga, or Tai Chi.

What happens if you do not let the body recover?

In the absence of adequate rest periods, the following can happen:
- Difficulty in working out
- Weakness in the body
- Difficulty in sleeping due to muscle aches
- Unexplained tiredness and depression
- Reduction in your performance
- Lowered immunity leading to frequent diseases and infection

Recommendations for easy muscle recovery

Hydrate - There is nothing more important than hydrating your body after exercise. You lose a lot of fluids while working out, and if you do not replace them, it takes a longer time for your body to recover from the stress of exercising.

Opt for post-workout snacks - Just like how you provide your body with water, giving it proteins and carbohydrates to compensate for the calories burnt helps with faster exercise recovery. Along with exercise recovery exercises, snack on healthy protein-rich foods.
- Whole grain toast with peanut butter/almond butter
- A whole banana
- A bowl of Greek yogurt with fruits
- A protein bar
- Protein shake
- Pita and hummus
- A handful of nuts and seeds
- Roasted peanuts

Recovery exercises

As you keep working on exercise recovery techniques, the time taken for recovering from a workout session reduces. When you let your body recover after exercise every single time, your muscles and tissues will thank you for it and get stronger and recover faster.

Here are some popular recovery exercises/techniques you can try out.
- Stretching on a foam roll
- Simple stretching exercises
- Holding stretch poses for 30-60 seconds
- Slow walking on a treadmill
- Yoga
- Tai Chi
- Elevating your legs up on a wall for 5-10 minutes

Get your genetic testing done

Know if you are genetically designed to take more time to recover from exercises. If so, consider combining intense and low-intense workouts to prevent risks of injuries. Also, give your body enough rest.

Summary

  1. Exercise recovery rate is a measure of how soon your body heals from exercise and is ready to be worked out again.
  2. Factors like age, physical status, diet, and lifestyle can affect exercise recovery rate.
  3. Overtraining Syndrome (OTS) is a condition where you push your body to workout beyond its ability. OTS can lead to fatigue, soreness, constant pain, and serious muscle injuries.
  4. Some people genetically have a quicker exercise recovery rate than others. Certain variations in the MMP3 gene and the CKM gene can increase/decrease energy recovery time.
  5. When you do not give the body time to recover, your immunity drops down, energy levels come down, and you feel tired and sick all the time.
  6. Eating nutritious food, getting the right amount of sleep, practicing exercise recovery techniques, and staying stress-free all help improve the recovery rate.

References:

https://healthengine.com.au/info/exercise-recovery
https://acewebcontent.azureedge.net/SAP-Reports/Post-Exercise_Recovery_SAP_Reports.pdf
https://medium.com/@xcodelife/heres-how-exercise-recovery-will-help-you-perform-better-bf9ffdbe2a0c
https://journals.physiology.org/doi/pdf/10.1152/ajpcell.00211.2003
https://www.healthline.com/health/signs-of-overtraining#signs-and-symptoms
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4983298/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5401954/

 

Almost any part of the body can suffer an injury during sports or exercise. But, the term ‘sports injury’ is used to describe injuries of the musculoskeletal system. This includes:
- Injuries of muscles
- Injuries of bones
- Injuries of ligaments and tendons
- Injuries of other associated tissues like cartilage.

Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries are relatively rare during sports or exercise.

Sports injuries are an unfortunate side effect of working out and training. It commonly occurs due to overtraining, improper conditioning, and wrong form or technique. Warm-up and cool-down stretches play a very important role in injury prevention.

Common sports injuries:
- Sprains
- Achilles tendon
- Tendinopathy
- Fractures
- Tennis elbow
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Concussion
- Anterior cruciate ligament tears
- Low back pain
- Ankle sprain

How Genes Influence The Likelihood of Injury?

MCT1 Gene and Injury Risk

MCT1 gene, also called SLC16A1, encodes the Monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT) protein. It regulates the transport of lactate and other substances. It also removes lactic acid from the muscles.
The build-up of lactic acid makes the intracellular environment acidic and degenerates the muscles. Both of these can make a person injury-prone.
MCT1 gene influences the amount of MCT you produce. The more you produce, the quicker is the clearance rate. This reduces muscle degeneration and injury risk.

rs1049434 of MCT1 Gene and Injury Risk
According to a study, rs1049434 AA genotype was associated with a higher incidence of injuries in elite football players. Further, the study also hypothesized that the T allele could play a protective role in the pathogenesis of indirect muscle injuries.

MMP3 Gene and Injury Risk

The MMP3 gene encodes the enzyme matrix metalloproteinase 3 (also called Stromelysin-1), which is associated with the breakdown of extracellular matrix during the normal physiological process.
MMP3 is required to maintain the mechanical properties of tendons. An elevated expression of the MMP3 gene is associated with increased degeneration of the matrix, resulting in an imbalance.

rs679620 of MMP3 Gene and Injury Risk
A study explored the potential relationship between the SNP rs679620 and tendon injury.
The G allele was associated with an increased risk of Achilles tendinopathy (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19042922/).

Non-genetics Factor That Influence Injury Risk

Non-genetic factors can be modifiable or non-modifiable. Modifiable factors can be tuned through specific training methods. Examples of modifiable factors include:
- Body composition (e.g., body weight, fat mass, BMI, anthropometry)
- Fitness level (e.g., muscle strength/power, VO2 max, joint ROM)
- Skill level (e.g., sports-specific technique, postural stability)
- Psychological factors (e.g., competitiveness, motivation, perception of risk)

Some non-modifiable factors include:
- Age (maturation, aging)
- Sex
- Anatomy (alignment, intercondylar notch width)
- Health (previous injury, joint instability)
- Anatomy (bone architecture)

Recommendations to Prevent Injuries

Get the right gear: Wear comfortable clothes that let your body move naturally and breathe freely.
Strengthen your muscles: Conditioning exercises like squats, burpees, resistance training, and aerobics can help strengthen your muscles.
Use the right technique: There’s a ‘right’ form for each exercise. Practicing that form is important to avoid unnecessary strain on the muscles.
Take adequate rest: Getting enough rest aids muscle recovery and prevents muscle injuries.
Hydrate continuously: Sweating results in the loss of essential fluids; they need to be replaced to sustain the exercise
Get stretching: Both warm-up and cool-down stretches are essential to prevent injuries.

Summary

  1. “Sports injuries” describe the injuries of muscular and skeletal systems. Some common injuries include sprain, tendinopathy, Achilles tendon, fractures, and tennis elbow.
    1. Some genes influence various fitness-associated aspects like muscle and tendon strength, collagen formation, fatigue onset, and the overall musculature.
  2. MMP3 is a gene that is required to maintain the mechanical properties of tendons. The G allele of rs679620 in the MMP3 gene is associated with an increased risk for tendinopathy and Achilles tendon.
  3. Factors like age, sex, bone architecture, fitness levels, and body composition also affect the likelihood of injury.
  4. You can do some things to ensure injury prevention, including wearing the right gear, doing some strengthening exercises, giving adequate rest periods between workouts, and hydrating adequately.

Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monocarboxylate_transporter_1
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26478856
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MMP3
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extracellular_matrix
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19042922/

 

The Total Lung Capacity (TLC) is the volume of air your lungs can hold at any given point in time and is also a measure of how healthy your lungs are.

Your lung capacity is a predictor of your health & longevity (mortality rate).

The higher your lung capacity, the easier it is for you to inhale & exhale.

Most people do not make use of their complete lung capacity.

How Does Exercise Impact Lung Health?

When you exercise, your heart and lungs work hard. When you work out, the muscles need more oxygen to handle the stress. Hence, the heart starts pumping blood faster, and the lungs need to provide more oxygen to the body to match up.

Normal adults at rest breathe in 6-8 liters of air per minute. When you are exercising, your lungs take in up to 100 liters of air per minute!

This improves the capacity of the lungs to hold more air. With regular exercise, your lung capacity will improve.

Importance of Exercise for Lung Capacity

Exercise Makes Lungs Stronger

Just like how exercise makes your muscles stronger, it also strengthens your lungs by encouraging them to work harder.

Exercise Promotes Smoother Oxygen Delivery

Exercise ensures your body can receive oxygen quicker and more smoothly. People who exercise can receive oxygen from their lungs better than those who are not physically active.

Exercise Prevents Shortness of Breath

You develop shortness of breath when your lung capacity is low. Regular exercise can ensure that your lung capacity increases, thus preventing breathlessness.

Diaphragmatic Exercises Improve Lung Capacity

Diaphragmatic exercises are those that use the diaphragm, which is an important muscle to help you inhale and exhale. Practicing diaphragmatic exercises can make inhalation and exhalation better and improve lung capacity.

The Influence Of Genetics On Lung Capacity

VO2max is the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use during intense physical activities. When your lung capacity increases, the VO2max improves and vice-versa.

VO2max is a very important factor for athletes, sportspeople, and endurance trainers.

ADRB2 gene

The ADRB2 gene is responsible for dilating the airways (bronchodilation) and also handles calcium channels. Variations in the gene cause an increased risk of asthma.

rs1042713 and Lung Capacity
The G allele in the rs1042713 SNP of the ADRB2 gene is associated with the widening of blood vessels (vasodilation) when the person exercises. Vasodilation leads to an increase in VO2max and increases the availability of oxygen for working out.

IL6 Gene and Lung Capacity

The IL6 gene is a protein-coding gene responsible for increasing and reducing inflammation in the body.
A specific type of variation in the IL6 gene is responsible for increased VO2max values and favors people in sprint sports.

rs1800795 and Lung Capacity
As part of a study, 54 healthy military individuals were put to an 8-week long intensive training program. During this period, their VO2max values were studied.

At the end of 8 weeks, their VO2max levels were noted. People with the CG genotype of the rs1800795 SNP had a 10.8% increase in their VO2max values. Those with the GG genotype had a 6.7% increase. The one's with CC genotype had the lowest improvements in VO2max values (5.1%).

Non-genetic Influences on Lung Capacity

Effects of Too Much Exercising on the Lungs

Exercise is healthy for the lungs and slowly improves lung capacity. However, too much exercise can be harmful to the lungs in a few cases.

The elderly and those with existing lung conditions have to look out for the below symptoms when exercising.
- Chest pain
- Excess shortness of breath
- Wheezing
- Pain around the chest, arms, and shoulders
- Dizziness and nausea
- Exercise-induced asthma: Exercise-induced asthma is a condition that is triggered by strenuous exercise.

You will need to be on medications if so. Indoor exercises are better as the dust and allergies in the environment trigger this condition most times.

Recommendations to Improve Lung Capacity

Summary

  1. Total Lung Capacity (TLC) is the volume of air you can hold at any given moment. TLC is one of the factors that determine how healthy your lungs are.
  2. VO2max is the measure of how much oxygen you use when you are performing physically strenuous tasks. The better your VO2max, the better will be your lung capacity.
  3. When you exercise, your lung muscles get stronger. Your lung capacity gradually improves to match the demand for oxygen in the body.
  4. Certain variations in the ADRB2 gene helps dilate your blood vessels and improve VO2max. Variations in the IL6 gene cause increase in VO2max values in people who exercise.
  5. Factors like age, gender, height, weight, and existing lung conditions all affect lung capacity.
  6. Excessive exercising can end up being counterproductive in certain cases - especially in older adults and people with other lung conditions.
  7. Practicing breathing exercises, staying physically active, improving vitamin D intake, and eating antioxidant-rich foods all help improve lung capacity.

References:

https://lunginstitute.com/blog/lung-capacity-what-does-it-mean/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818249/
https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/wellness/exercise-and-lung-health
https://www.health.harvard.edu/lung-health-and-disease/breathing-life-into-your-lungs

 

Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a condition that causes an elevation in blood glucose levels. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the sugar levels in your blood by carefully monitoring the breakdowns of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
There are four types of diabetes:
-Pre-diabetes : The blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to diagnose diabetes. But preventive measures need to be followed to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes
-Type 1 diabetes : It is also called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent insulin. It occurs when the pancreas does not produce or produces very little insulin.
-Type 2 diabetes : The pancreas produces adequate insulin; however, the cells in the body do not respond well to it. The pancreas then tries to produce more and more insulin to get the cells to respond.
-Gestational diabetes : This type of diabetes is first diagnosed during pregnancy. It affects up to 10% of women who are pregnant in the U.S.

What is Insulin Sensitivity?

If your body is sensitive to insulin, it means that it can transport glucose from your blood into the cells to be used as an energy source. A high insulin sensitivity results in a faster and more effective movement of glucose into cells. Low insulin sensitivity is also called insulin resistance. The cells of the body do not respond to insulin, and as a result, do not absorb the glucose. This leads to high glucose levels in the body, eventually resulting in type 2 diabetes.

How Does Exercise Affect Insulin Sensitivity?

Regular exercising can help enhance insulin sensitivity.
Exercises help move sugar into muscles for storage, which immediately increases insulin sensitivity. Glucose uptake increases for up to two hours after a good workout. According to a study, a single bout of exercise can increase insulin sensitivity for at least 16 hours post exercise.
Resistance training can help increase your insulin sensitivity. A study conducted on overweight men both with and without diabetes, revealed that resistance-training for three months increases their insulin sensitivity. This wasn’t dependent on other factors like weight loss.

Importance of Insulin Sensitivity

Your sensitivity to insulin determines how effectively your body can use glucose for energy to perform critical body functions.

Other benefits of insulin sensitivity include:
Fat Loss
Enhanced insulin sensitivity has been shown to result in successful long-term weight loss.

Reduced Risk of Disease
Insulin sensitivity helps reduce the risk of conditions, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, thyroid conditions, blood clot disorders, and more.

Slowing Down Cognitive decline
Insulin resistance has been associated with poorer cognitive performance and greater cognitive decline. In fact, some researchers refer to Alzheimer’s as type 3 diabetes.

Healthier Skin
Insulin resistance results in increased secretion of insulin. This has been associated with the increased risk of various skin conditions like acanthosis nigricans, skin tags, hirsutism, and androgenetic alopecia.

How Does Genetics Affect The Influence Of Exercise on Insulin Sensitivity

The Influence Of LIPC Gene on Insulin Sensitivity

The LIPC gene encodes the enzyme called hepatic lipase. This enzyme is produced in the liver and transported into the bloodstream, where it helps with the conversion of one form of lipoprotein (very low-density lipoproteins - VLDLs or intermediate-density lipoproteins - IDLs) to another (low-density lipoproteins - LDLs). Lipoproteins are a type of fat-transporting molecule.
The enzyme also helps transport high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) that carry cholesterol and triglycerides (TG) from the blood to the liver.
Remember, HDL is the ‘good cholesterol,’ and LDL (including VLDL) is the ‘bad cholesterol.’

The effect of rs1800588 of LIPC Gene on Exercise and Insulin Sensitivity
rs1800588 is an SNP in the LIPC gene. It influences the effects induced by aerobic exercises on VLDL, TG, and HDL levels. The sex of an individual can sway the outcome.
According to a study, the C allele is associated with higher hepatic lipase activity and better insulin sensitivity response to regular exercise.

Non-genetic Factors That Influence the Effect of Exercise on Insulin Sensitivity

The Frequency Of Exercising

A single session of workout can enhance insulin sensitivity from anywhere between two to sixteen hours. But after this window, this effect diminishes. So, regular exercising ensures a good sensitivity to insulin.

The Duration and Intensity of Physical Activity

Both low-intensity exercises for a longer period and high-intensity exercises for a short duration are effective. In fact, one can be substituted for another.

The Type of Physical Activity

Both aerobic and resistance exercises help increase insulin sensitivity. But, the best results are seen when both of these are included in the routine.

Effects of Lowered Insulin Sensitivity

Low insulin sensitivity is called insulin resistance. Without management, insulin resistance can progress to type 2 diabetes. Other effects of insulin resistance include:
-Weight gain
-Higher than normal blood pressure readings
-Elevated blood sugar levels
-Abnormal lipid profile
-Skin tags
-acanthosis nigricans (a skin disorder resulting in velvety dark patches)

Effects of Very High Insulin Sensitivity

Enhanced insulin sensitivity is mostly a sign of good health. However, at times, higher sensitivity can become an issue.

High insulin sensitivity in people with type 1 diabetes can put them at a risk of hypoglycemia - blood glucose levels dip to levels lower than normal.

Exercises to Improve Insulin Sensitivity

Any type of workout can help improve the functioning of insulin. When combined with aerobic activities like brisk walking or cycling and resistance training like weight training, it can result in improved insulin sensitivity.

When starting from a completely sedentary lifestyle, a walking program or a moderate resistance training program can help.

Some aerobic exercises include:
-Brisk walking
-Jogging or running
-Swimming
-Cycling
-Rowing

Some functional resistance training exercises include:
-Squats
-Lunges
-Pushups
-Bench press
-Barbell curl

HIIT workout for Enhancing Insulin Sensitivity

HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training involves short periods of high-intensity exercise followed by long periods of recovery – repeated multiple times.

HIIT is an effective workout choice for people with diabetes because of its effects on insulin sensitivity.

HIIT exercises work the fast-twitch muscles really well. This results in an increased uptake of glucose by muscles from the blood. Hence, blood glucose concentrations decrease.

Summary

  1. Insulin sensitivity allows the cells in the body to effectively take up glucose from the blood. Good insulin sensitivity helps prevent glucose build-up and hence decreases your risk of diabetes.
  2. Enhancing your insulin sensitivity offers many health benefits, including weight loss, healthy skin, decelerating cognitive decline, and reducing diabetes risk.
  3. Exercising can help improve insulin sensitivity by encouraging the muscle to uptake glucose from the bloodstream. However, the type, duration, and frequency of exercising can influence the response.
  4. Certain genetic variants determine the extent to which your insulin sensitivity improves in response to exercises. For example, the C allele in the rs1800588 of LIPC gene is associated with a better response to insulin sensitivity upon exercising. Thus, people with the CC type may benefit more in terms of insulin sensitivity if they exercise regularly.
  5. A low insulin sensitivity can result in weight gain, elevated blood pressure and blood glucose levels, skin tags, and an abnormal lipid profile.
  6. While it is crucial for your cells to be insulin-sensitive, very high insulin sensitivity can reduce the blood sugar levels to lower than normal (a condition called hypoglycemia) in people with type 1 diabetes.
  7. A combination of aerobic and resistance training has been associated with a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity. HIIT workout also happens to be an effective choice for people with diabetes. By activating the fast-twitch muscle fibers, HIIT workout encourages the glucose to move from the blood to the muscles, reducing blood sugar levels.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5519190/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28304291/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2769828/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5336429/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10683091/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15628572
https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/gene/lipc/
https://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/54/7/2251
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24730354/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10418856/
https://www.diabetes.co.uk/insulin/insulin-sensitivity.html
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5725446/

 

Regular physical activity is part of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise helps you burn excess calories, improves your metabolism, maintain a healthy body weight, improve heart health, and has several other physical and mental health benefits .

However, not everyone loses weight the same way and at the same rate. Some people tend to lose weight faster with exercise than others. In fact, a few people may even experience weight gain despite exercising regularly.

Apart from factors like your age, caloric intake, and health status, your genes may also influence whether you tend towards losing or gaining weight with exercise.

It is important to note that 'weight gain' is not always unhealthy. Sometimes, it can be due to an increase in muscle mass and not fat! An increase in muscle mass is beneficial to health.

Understanding your genetic makeup with respect to genes that affect your weight when you exercise can help you plan the right workout regime to achieve your weight-based goals.

Exercise has several benefits among which weight loss is one. So just because you are not losing a lot of weight is no reason to stop exercising.

Importance of Exercise in Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Improved Metabolism

Metabolism is the body's process of converting food into energy. When you exercise, your muscles use up a lot of calories. The calories from the food you eat are quickly burnt up instead of getting stored. Improved metabolism automatically stabilizes body weight.

A study calculated the metabolic rate of young male adults after 45 minutes of vigorous exercise. The study concluded that these men had an increased metabolic rate for up to 14 hours after exercising.

Increased Muscle Mass

If you have a lower BMI value and are looking to put on healthy weight, exercise can help. Resistance exercise increases the size of large muscles in the body (thighs, triceps, biceps, glutes). As the muscle mass increases, your weight improves. Muscle weight does not make you look overweight or obese.

Below are a few exercises that build muscles and help you look leaner yet stronger.

- Squats

- Planks

- Exercises with resistance band

- Pull-ups

- Chest presses

Lowered Risks of Certain Diseases

Exercising helps prevent problems like excessive weight gain and obesity. A healthy weight lowers the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and high blood pressure.

The Genetic Association

FTO gene

The FTO gene is one of the most discussed genes for obesity. It encodes Fat mass and obesity-associated protein. This protein is also known as alpha-ketoglutarate-dependent dioxygenase FTO.

Certain variants of the FTO gene influence weight loss and weight gain tendency upon exercising.

rs9939609 and Weight Loss/Gain

The A minor allele of the rs9939609 SNP of the FTO gene is related to an increased risk of obesity.

A meta-study compared the data from 54 different studies that analyzed the effects of exercising on obesity in people with the rs9939609 SNP.

The study concluded that people with the A minor allele have 1.23 fold/allele increased odds of being obese. Physical activity, however, brings down the risk by 27%.

ADBR2 Gene

The ADBR2 gene helps bind a neurotransmitter called epinephrine that helps relax muscles. This gene also plays a role in calcium channel interactions.

Variations in the ADBR2 gene may result in reduced lipolysis. Lipolysis is the action of using stored fat in the body for energy when you exercise. When lipolysis action is reduced, the risk of obesity increases.

People with certain genetic variants may have reduced lipolysis, and as a result, lose less fat with exercises.

Non-genetic Influences Of Exercise In Weight Loss And Weight Gain

Ethnicity

Our ability to exercise reduces as we age. Coupled with this, our metabolism also decreases as we age. Consequently, we tend to put on weight as we get older. 

Age

Our ability to exercise reduces as we age. Coupled with this, our metabolism also decreases as we age. Consequently, we tend to put on weight as we get older. 

Eating Habits

If you are habituated to eating high-calorie foods, packaged and processed foods, and excess saturated fats, you will not be able to lose weight by just exercising. Even with regular physical activity, when your caloric intake is very high, you may gain weight. Maintaining a healthy weight requires a disciplined approach to both diet and exercise.

Water Retention

If you are gaining weight during the first few weeks of exercising, it could be because of water retention in the body. As you start exercising, your muscle fibers experience micro-tearing and stress. This leads to water retention, which increases body weight. Another mechanism of water retention in the body is consuming either high salt or high sugar foods.

Salt retains water in the body and causes high blood pressure. Sugar gets converted into glycogen in the liver and muscle tissue for storage. Each glycogen molecule is tied to 3 water molecules! Hence, for every gram of glycogen in the body, you will carry three times as much weight in water. Junk foods are high in both salt and sugar, delivering a double whammy of excess weight.

Bad Pre and Post-workout Snacks

Pre and post-workout snacks are chosen to give your body the needed energy to handle intensive workouts. If you do not choose the right snacks, these can cause weight gain even after exercising.

What Happens When You Lose Too Much Weight After Exercising

Some people who follow an intense workout regime may see themselves losing weight rapidly. This is especially true if they combine exercise with a calorie-restricted diet.

If you are losing weight rapidly, then here are certain side-effects to look out for.

- Tiredness and fatigue

- Risks of nutritional deficiencies

- Muscle loss

- Inability to work out for longer stretches

- Formation of gallstones

- Muscle cramps

- Dehydration

Achieving Better Results With Exercising

Choose the Right Exercise

Depending on how much weight you want to lose, pick up the right physical activity. Those on an extreme weight loss journey may need to get help from professional trainers to plan their exercise regime.

Pair Exercise With the Right Diet

By choosing healthier and low-calorie meals, you can lose more weight. Protein-rich foods may be more beneficial than carbohydrates and fat-rich foods.

Exercise Regularly

It is difficult to lose weight if you are irregular with exercising. People who exercise once in a while and don't restrict their caloric intake may end up gaining weight.

Strength Training

Choose strength training exercises over other types if you are looking to gain muscle weight.

Know What Your Genes Mean

Knowing your genetic variations can help plan your exercise and diet regimen better. Genetic nutrition and fitness reports can help you understand which diets and exercises are more suitable for your genetics. You can then couple this with your own experiences and understanding of yourself and act accordingly.

Summary

  1. Exercise improves metabolism and burns calories, and, as a result, helps with maintaining optimal body weight.
  2. Some people can lose weight quickly with exercise, and others take time. Both genetic and non-genetic factors influence this.
  3. Non-genetic factors like age, gender, ethnicity, and eating habits can decide how effective exercise is for weight loss.
  4. Some individuals may consume more calories than they burn and gain weight despite being physically active.
  5. The FTO gene is the most discussed gene when it comes to obesity. The A minor allele of the rs9939609 SNP of this gene increases a person's chance of getting obese. Physical activity can reduce the risk by up to 27%.
  6. Variations in the ADBR2 gene can influence how the body uses stored fat for energy while exercising. Certain variations in this gene are less efficient in burning fat for energy during exercise, and hence lead to reduced weight loss with exercise. .
  7. Practicing the right exercise, staying calorie-conscious and understanding your genes all make a difference in how much weight we loss with exercise.

References

Power, also known as skeletal muscle power, is defined in fitness and sports as the ability to exert maximum force in minimum time. With improved power, a person can exhibit skills and perform the movement with maximum force in a short period of time. Power is often confused with strength. They are actually quite different. Strength is your capacity to do a particular exercise, which is basically the maximum force you can apply against a load. Power takes into account both strength and speed.

Muscle power is an important aspect of fitness and sports training, and athletics. In weight lifting, boxing, and similar sports, muscle power is the major physical attribute that plays a role in the person’s performance. Even in everyday life, power increases your ability to do activities like lifting boxes, opening doors, or other intensive activities without too much strain.

Why is Power Important?

How Does Genetics Influence Power?

ACE Gene and Power

ACE is a gene that codes for angiotensin I-converting enzyme. It regulates blood pressure, cardiovascular function, and metabolic processes in muscles.

rs4343
rs4343 is an SNP in the ACE gene with two alleles, I and D. I allele, which is the inserted form, is associated with improved endurance, and D allele, which is the deleted form, is found to be associated with higher enhanced performance at sports that require bursts of power.

ACTN3 and Power

ACTN3 is primarily expressed in skeletal muscle. This gene codes for a protein called Alpha-Actinin-3, which is necessary for producing explosive power contractions. These two genes have been extensively studied in link with human physical performance, fitness, and athletic ability.

rs1815739
rs1815739 is an SNP in the ACTN3 gene with two alleles, R and non-functional X. According to a study, the R allele is found in sprint athletes, whereas the X allele results in higher endurance. The R allele is suggested to contribute to power performance.

Other than these two, there is a list of genes that influence power that include ADRB2, AGT, CRP, DMD, WAPAL, among others.

Non-genetic Factors that Influence Power

Improving Your Power

Power training is strength training done at a faster pace in an explosive amount of time. This will help build muscle and increase energy. Some power exercises are basically strength exercises done at a faster speed.

To have an overall balanced training, power training should be combined with strength training and other types of workouts. Power is an important component of HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts.

A few normal exercises that can be done at home without any special equipment to help improve your power are:
- Chair stand
- Bridge
- Tricep dips
- Push-ups
- Jump squats
- Squat thrusters
- Long jumps

These exercises should be done with proper form. The stabilization of your core is of prime importance. The power variations in your workout routine should be gradually increased

Summary

  1. Power is the ability to exert maximum force in minimum time. Power training is an important part of fitness and sports.
  2. Including power training in your fitness regime has a number of benefits. It strengthens your bones, muscles, increases energy, helps in weight loss, and gets more blood pumping for a healthier heart.
  3. Variations in certain genes are found to contribute to your power performance. The D allele of SNP rs4343 found in the ACE gene and the R allele of SNP rs1815739 found in the ACTN3 gene are found to be associated with increased power performance.
  4. Age, gender, muscle, and limb strength can also influence power.
  5. Power training can be improved by including various types of workouts. Power is an important component of HIIT workouts.

References

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325004
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/power-training-provides-special-benefits-for-muscles-and-function-201304226097
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3554644/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4879442/

 

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