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Exercise Can Help You Outsmart Your Genes

Are we at the mercy of our genes? That's a question many of us may ask ourselves, particularly when we start a weight loss program. As the weight (hopefully) comes off, you may notice that you're not not losing weight where you want to, causing you to wonder just what mechanism is involved to keep extra fat in all the places you want to lose it the most?

You may think it's the same phenomenon that occurs when you're at the grocery story (always choosing the line with the person guaranteed to need 16 items price-checked) or when you're late for an appointment and get behind the person driving at roughly the same speed as a glacier.

No one can really explain those things, but your body is a different matter. If you're not losing fat where you want, it isn't because you aren't doing the right exercises or, as some people think, because you suck. In fact, it's not your fault at all: It's your parents' fault. They, and their ancestors before them, have passed along a genetic code that determines where you store excess fat and how, or if, you lose that fat. You, in turn, will pass those same genes along to your children who can then blame you for their own fat-storage woes.

It's the circle of life, is it not?

Now, it's true that our genes do control things to a certain degree and some of us even have an 'obesity' gene, one that has been named FTO, but you're welcome to make up your own name, should you be an unfortunate carrier. People who carry these genes are more likely to be obese...but, there is a way to fight that genetic tendency: Exercise

In a study published in Public Library of Science, researchers discovered that exercise can reduce the effects of the FTO obesity gene. In fact, of the 218,000 people in the study, experts found that the odds of obesity were reduced by up to 30% in those who were physically active.

So, while you still can't choose how your body stores fat, you can override some aspects of your genetic code by some of your lifestyle choices.

In light of this, does this make a difference in how you think about exercise? How much control do you think we have over our bodies and how much do our genes control? How often do you blame your genes for what you can or can't accomplish? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.

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