New year, new you: How to use genetics to help with your fitness resolutions
With 2018 fast approaching, many of us will now be turning our attention towards New Year’s resolutions. It can be challenging to start on these goals, much less set up a plan that will help you keep working towards them throughout the next year. Luckily, there’s an easy way to get personalized help for this: Just ask your DNA.
A person’s athletic abilities may be influenced by small, heritable changes in their DNA sequence. Large scale genetic studies have shown that people who excel in certain sporting events tend to share similar DNA sequences. Since the 1990s, there have been more than 120 different genes associated with some aspect of athleticism (the majority of which were only described in the last 8 years).
But how exactly can this information be used to help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions? Products like MyTraits Sport from Intelliseq can help you analyze your genome to determine if your genetics are more similar to elite endurance- or power-oriented athletes. Based on your genetic results, you’ll also get a score that summarizes your individual likelihood of excelling in endurance and power training. MyTraits Sport can be helpful for you whether you are looking to fine-tune your physical fitness in the new year, or just looking to learn a little more about yourself.
Finding the appropriate workout routine is not just about exercise, though—sometimes it involves understanding how your body processes certain foods. Some of the products offered in the Helix Store, including MyTraits Sport and Fitness Buddy, evaluate your DNA and provide you with information about different types of foods that may help you achieve your goals. These products rely on research which indicates that some changes in the DNA can affect how your body processes various types of fat, carbohydrates, and other nutrients. With these insights, you may be able to change your diet and get more from your workouts.
It’s hard to talk about working out without also talking about injury. ACL tears and stress fractures can all happen when exercising, particularly for those who aren’t as experienced. Interestingly, certain variants in your DNA may influence your predisposition for these injuries. Understanding these risks can help you tailor your workout routine to avoid such injuries. Fitness Buddy, Muscle Builder, and Fitness Diet Pro analyze some of these genes to help you understand what potential injuries you may want to pay extra attention to.
Ultimately, your athleticism is determined by much more than just your genetics. Your environment, resources, and personal choices primarily determine how successful your workouts are. But understanding your genetics may help you approach your New Year’s resolutions in a whole new way.
Helix is the leading population genomics and viral surveillance company operating at the intersection of clinical care, research, and data analytics.