Today, by the time children reach high school, they are aware of which sport activity brings out the best in them. While some show excellence enough to guarantee them a career in sports, some participate diligently, and yet others consider any kind of sporting activity a bore. This pattern often carries on into adulthood – not only for elite sports people, but for others as well. There are people who make a particular fitness activity an integrated part of their lives and others who try many activities and give up. Often, time, money and other factors are blamed for this. The bottom line, however, is performance. Sustained interest in a sport/fitness activity, and discipline in training often depend on their performance.
What are the factors that decide a person’s sports performance? Here, again interest, training, and discipline have a role to play. Some attribute performance to physical and physiological factors, while others say that diet matters too. No doubt, each factor has an important role to play. For years, people have believed that there is another factor in addition to these. This additional factor has been identified as genes.
Genes & Sports Performance
Genetics play a significant role in determining sports performance of an individual. It is a polygenic trait and over 100 genes are reported to be correlated with physical phenotypes like muscle performance, endurance ability, muscle contraction force, cardiac performance, oxygen intake, etc. Genetic factors determine nearly 50% of variation in physical fitness across the globe.
Almost all genetic services determining general sports ability target the gene ACTN3 (alpha actinin 3) in the body. Many research articles have correlated ACTN3 gene with muscle performance in the general population.
Functional ACTN3 gene is largely identified in elite or Olympic level athletes, sprinters and body builders, who harbor great potential of physical performance. In addition, it is seen that people with non-functional ACTN3 gene are very rare among elite athletes. The non-functional ACTN3 genotype constitutes around 2-3% of total population among elite athletes and is reported to be around 10 times greater in the general population.
The gene ACTN3 belongs to the family of alpha actinins that are actin-binding proteins that maintain the cytoskeletal component in our body. The gene is specifically expressed in fast glycolytic skeletal muscle fibres that aid in muscle contraction activities like sprinting and weight lifting.
A common polymorphism in the ACTN3 gene leads to a deficiency in protein products, resulting in low muscle strength. However, this polymorphism in ACTN3 is correlated with an increase in endurance performance in individuals, unlike the functional gene that corresponds to sprint performance.
How can a genetic test help you in sports/fitness?
A genetic test for sports has many benefits. While this test is good for one and all, the benefits reaped can be better at an early age.
Career in Sports
If you are determined that your child should have a brilliant career in sports, this test can help you identify the type of activities where your child is likely to perform better. Nothing can beat an early start to training when it comes to performance. However, we strongly recommend that you consider your child’s interests as well. In Khalil Gibran’s words: “You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts.”
A genetic test can help you achieve your fitness goals better. You can plan your workout with the best-suited fitness activities, which can also help build your strengths.
If you have a personal trainer, our genetic counsellor can give valuable advice on which activities work best for you.
Weight loss requires regular and adequate fitness activity to burn the calories. While a comprehensive understanding of appetite, metabolism, and fat storage is essential, the role of fitness cannot be ignored. All our genetic tests for weight-loss also check for sports performance.
Marathons are the current fad among many people. There are many who register, but do not run or complete the run. Here, a sports genetic test can help you build your strengths and finish the race ahead of others.
Getting A Sports Genetic Test
Mapmygenome offers Smart Sport, a genetic test to understand your sports and fitness capabilities. To order this test, visit Mapmygenome.in, write to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1800-102-4595. Today!