Or do the genes we were born with and our upbringing matter more?
To find out, scientists in Finland researched 10 pairs of young male identical twins, checking them every few years from the age of 16.
One of the pair exercised regularly and one did not, usually because of family or work pressures.
Their DNA and childhood experiences were similar and the changes in their exercise routines diverged only in the three years prior to the testing at ages 32 – 36.
Each man’s endurance capacity, body fat percentage and insulin resistance were measured and each had a brain scan.
Read more details of the study
The differences were astonishing!
- Although eating very similar daily diets, the sedentary twins had lower endurance capacities and signs of metabolic problems because of insulin resistance.
- The active twins had significantly more grey matter, especially in the brain areas involved in motor control and coordination.
Researcher Dr. Urho Kyjala said:
The study underscores how rapidly a few years of robust exercise can affect health. Genetics and environment ‘do not have to be’ your destiny when it comes to exercise habits.
Everyone of us can move more.
It is in our power to rapidly and substantially improve the condition of our body and brain.
(Ref: Gretchen Reynolds, NYTimes)