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Health and Fitness News

Genetically Tailored Exercise

Could a DNA test reveal your ideal exercise program?

Today, you can get a DNA test to discover your ancestry, your risk for disease, or what type of medication would be most effective for you. But did you know there are now genetic tests available to help you determine what type of exercise, diet, and sleep schedule are best for you? Sounds crazy, right?

While the science is new and developing, genetic testing promises to help you know if you’re on the right track in your workouts or if you’re doing the right kind of exercise to reach your potential and avoid injury. Wondering if the promises are being fulfilled? Keep reading to find out more about this developing area of fitness.

How It Works

There are multiple DNA testing laboratories that offer genetic testing for your diet and exercise life. Do your research to find a lab with good reviews, prices, and helpful results. Then request your specific type of test. Most test kits start at around $200. When your kit arrives in the mail several days later, follow the specific instructions, and return a sample of your saliva to the lab.

The company will analyze the DNA material found in cells of your saliva. Test panels vary in what they examine, but they may claim to take into account genetic data associated with your metabolism, fat-burning capability, injury risk, muscle mass, training pain tolerance, and endurance. This genetic information, along with your body composition and lifestyle factors, will be used to create a personalized workout plan of how and when you need to exercise in order to reach your fitness goals. The company will provide you with a digital and/or printed copy of the detailed report. The results provided by some companies even include a “genetically guided” workout plan.

The Results

Many people wonder if they’re doing the right type of exercise when they aren’t seeing the results they hoped for. After all, everyone’s body is built differently, with different strengths, abilities, and predispositions. This is where the benefit of DNA testing could come in handy. If a simple test could help you design a workout routine that fits your biological makeup, then there would be no more guesswork for the rest of your life. Imagine what progress your trainer could help you make!

Unfortunately, the science of genetic testing in regards to exercise is still in its early stages and more research is needed. Most experts agree that the current results given today are often unsuccessful at predicting the best path for fitness. In other words, your personalized test results hold little to no value. Want to give it a try anyway? Submit your DNA to several different companies. More than likely, you’ll receive a variety of results, possibly with contradictions. And the information you do receive back may be generic in nature, with exercise recommendations that would be good for just about anyone.

The Benefits

Critics of DNA tests for exercise say behavior, environment, and lifestyle factors play a larger role in the effects of exercise than genetics. However, this doesn’t mean you should completely dismiss the idea of DNA tests for fitness information. Many people who get the test results are motivated to make fitness changes. While they may not be accurate recommendations, if the results help motivate you to exercise and make healthier lifestyle choices, then the test is worth the effort. Instead of seeing the genetic results as the only way of losing weight or getting fit, regard them as a potential guide to motivate you toward wellness.