Exercise Doesn’t Work For Everyone

Exercise Doesn’t Work For Everyone
Claude Bouchard of LSU has found that exercise just doesn’t work for some people. Bouchard put 742 people from 213 families through a 20-week endurance training program. The subjects had not exercised regularly for the previous six months. It isn’t surprising that some people benefitted more than others – it is surprising that some didn’t benefit at all. For example, while the average gain in VO2 max was 17%, those who responded best gained 40%, but some didn’t make any gains at all. Similar results were found for resting heart rate, blood pressure, and insulin sensitivity.
Regular readers of this site know that our response to training is regulated by which of our genes turn on and off. Bouchard measured gene expression for insulin sensitivity. He compared the eight volunteers who showed the largest gains with the eight who showed the least. In the muscles of the top eight, 51 genes were expressed at double the levels of the non-responders, and 74 genes at half the level.
Bouchard’s work reinforces the sense we all share that as endurance athletes we’ve been privileged by our genetic luck. (Original research at the Australian Health and Medical Research Congress, reported in New Scientist 4 Dec 2004.) (12/8)

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