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Is desire to exercise genetic?

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A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Missouri suggests that certain genetic predispositions may influence people to be more or less inclined or motivated to exercise. The researchers were able to selectively breed rats that began to exhibit extreme activity, on the one hand, and extreme laziness, on the other. The researchers conclude from these experiments that genetics may play an important role in whether or not we feel like exercising:

"We have shown that it is possible to be genetically predisposed to being lazy...This could be an important step in identifying additional causes for obesity in humans, especially considering dramatic increases in childhood obesity in the United States. It would be very useful to know if a person is genetically predisposed to having a lack of motivation to exercise, because that could potentially make them more likely to grow obese."

The researchers put rats in cages with running wheels and gauged how much each rat decided to use the wheels over about a top. They bred the top 26 runners with each other and likewise bred the 26 worst runners with each other. After 10 generations, it became apparent that the rats who chose to run less were lazy, and did not exhibit a desire to use the wheel. The researchers claim to have isolated 36 of the 17,000 rat genes that stood out and were correlated with a desire to engage in physical activity.

University of Missouri-Columbia. (2013, April 8). Couch potatoes may be genetically predisposed to being lazy, rat study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408184727.htm

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