The Translation of Systems Genetics of Exercise to Everyday Life

Authored by: Molly Bray

Routledge Handbook of Sport and Exercise Systems Genetics

Print publication date:  April  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138504851
eBook ISBN: 9781315146287
Adobe ISBN:


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Whether in the context of cardiovascular fitness, weight loss/maintenance, metabolic disease risk, or mental health, the benefits of physical activity and exercise for most individuals are undeniable. Conversely, physical inactivity is among the leading causes of death in the US, second only to tobacco use (5). Sedentary behavior has been shown to have a significant dose–response effect in increasing risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and all-cause mortality (47, 71). In adults aged 40–69 years, almost 10% of deaths have been attributed directly to insufficient levels of physical activity (14). Despite the health benefits associated with physical activity, many individuals find it difficult to maintain participation in regular physical activity, regardless of their interest or intent. Approximately 25% of adults do not engage in any leisure-time physical activity (45), and only 21% of adults meet the 2008 physical activity guidelines of 2.5 or more hours per week, with the lowest prevalence of physical activity participation among Hispanics and non-Hispanic black individuals (16). How might an understanding of the genetic underpinnings of physical activity and exercise response be used to improve intervention efficacy and turn the rising tide of sedentarism in the world? A primary goal of exercise genomics is to determine what makes a person “naturally” physically active and to use this knowledge to help others to achieve this natural state through enhanced interventions and more efficacious and personalized exercise prescription.

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