Because each of us responds to physical exercise in a different way

Because each of us responds to physical exercise in a different way

Physical activity does not have the same effect on everyone. A group from Boston has identified over 200 proteins that allow us to predict if and how exercise will affect cardiovascular well-being for each individual

(photo: Daniel Reche via Pixabay) We are all different and even physical exercise changes us and shapes our body differently and produces different effects in each of us. For example, someone prefers running, someone else aerobic gymnastics, others swimming. And again, from the same physical activity, such as running, for some the endurance will improve more and for others the reduction of blood sugars will prevail. Today a study conducted by the institute of cardiovascular medicine of the Beth Israel Deaconess medical center in Boston investigates and explains the reasons for some of these differences with particular attention to cardiovascular health. In this area, genetics plays a role: the authors identify and study over 200 proteins linked to more or less marked changes in cardiovascular well-being. The results are published in Nature Metabolism.

It's about proteins

The researchers involved 650 sedentary people, who took part in aerobic training sessions to improve endurance, or the ability to sustain an activity over time more or less intense physics with no drop in performance. At the beginning, before the sports session, the scientists measured the blood levels of the volunteers of about 5 thousand proteins and identified 147 related to cardiovascular well-being. In particular, these proteins are associated with maximum aerobic power or VO 2 max, or the maximum volume of oxygen consumed per minute during intense physical activity. This parameter is also connected to physical fitness, training and endurance, so it clearly changes if we become active from sedentary. However, these proteins could provide early clues, according to the authors, about our predisposition for improvement and resistance. There are also 102 other proteins that indicate a change and improvement in VO 2 max after training.

Studying proteins to understand the best exercise

These proteins had never been studied in relation to physical activity, as author Robert E. Gerszten explains. According to the authors, measuring the levels of these components before and after the session allows you to obtain useful information, before starting training, on the possible success of the same, or rather on how much the physical parameters associated with cardiovascular health can change and improve. "Adding a blood protein-bound score to the baseline clinical characteristics," they write in the publication's text, "improved the predictive accuracy of clinically meaningful improvements in VO 2 max." For example, some people may not report the expected cardiovascular benefits even by following a standard fitness program created to achieve a certain result.

Towards personalized fitness

Focus these differences can be important for various reasons. For example, from a separate investigation carried out by the group, it emerges that some of these proteins are linked to a greater risk of early death, so investigating the topic could also be important in the clinical setting. Furthermore, the research opens the door to future studies on how to personalize physical exercise on the basis of individual characteristics, towards a personalized sport. We are only at the beginning and the sample of volunteers is still small, but this kind of survey could be useful in the future. Recalling that in Italy almost 4 out of 10 people are sedentary and that overweight and obesity affect one out of two adults and one out of five children.

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