One of the first things we think of when aiming to improve our health is physical fitness. We all know the feeling that we should be working out more, doing more cardio and actually using the gym we’re paying for. But are we really giving our body the best workout? Is harder training better? Is a workout at the gym better than swimming or running? Will my body benefit more from 30 minutes of cardio a day or maybe pilates once a week? We are flooded with questions everywhere we turn and when we look for answers the picture isn’t much clearer.
Which sport is best for us?
Scientists and doctors proved many years ago that physical activity has a positive effect on health. But recent research has shown that genes affect which sports we are good at. For one person it might be endurance sports and for another it might be running. Maybe 30 minutes of cardio is better for certain people than pilates or working out in the gym a few times a week. Genes will cause different people to react differently to the same sport. The effectiveness of our muscles, our recovery rate and our aerobic stamina will be different for each person when doing the same sport. Different exercises and different kinds of sport target different groups of muscles. It’s not about how much or how often you work out or engage in physical activities. It’s more about which muscles are being targeted and finding the genetic connection to get the results we want.
Choosing a specific fitness program
Studies show that genetics have a significant contribution to sports and fitness. This is why two people can train at the same rate in the same sport but in the end one will be fitter and more successful than the other. The genetic connection in choosing which sport to train in is important in professional teams, but it is also crucial when the aim is to encourage better health. If people take part in sports that they’re good at, the positive results will keep them from giving up easily, they will persevere in their efforts to maintain a healthy level of fitness and that in itself will give a feeling of achievement and make it easier to carry on with the fitness plan.
Therefore, when building an effective fitness plan, we have to take into consideration the individual genetic makeup and choose the activities that best suit each and every one of us and not the shape or type of our body. In this way we will be working with not against our body for effective and efficient results.
To explain this better think of the swimmer who swims for an hour 3 or 4 times a week. If she tries to compete with someone who cycles for an hour 3 or 4 times a week she will not be able to keep up. In the same way if a football team were to take a ballet lesson, they might look like a very unfit team. Even Olympic athletes and sports super-stars, who excel in one type of sport, may be very weak in another. There is no doubt that all are athletes in peak condition, but because of genetic differences, each one shines in one area while giving a mediocre performance in another.
Scientist and researchers today are able to discover which kind of physical activity is the most appropriate for each person. It is not a trial and error process or one based only on personal preferences, but a scientific process where genetics provide the necessary information required to build a personalized fitness plan aimed to improve health and strengthen the body.