Regardless of what your fitness goals may be, aerobic capacity is an important metric to focus on. It determines how well your body can utilize oxygen. Simply put, the better the aerobic capacity, the longer you will be able to sustain exercises. Aerobic training not only helps achieve peak fitness but also improves cardiac health and respiratory functions. An individual's genetic makeup can determine up to 50% of their aerobic capacity by influencing factors such as antioxidant production, heart functioning, etc. The analysis of such genes and their variants can give a clearer idea of the kind of training you need to take on to achieve maximum results.
Aerobic capacity (AC) is the maximum amount of oxygen consumed while performing intense activities that involve large muscle groups.
It is also a measure of how effectively the heart and the lungs get oxygen to the muscles. Hence, improving your aerobic capacity can directly result in more efficient use of oxygen by the body.
The other term which is used to describe aerobic capacity is vO2 max.
However, the vO2 max also takes into consideration the individual's body weight.
One of the best ways to estimate your cardiovascular fitness is by calculating your Aerobic Capacity.
If you are in a fitness center, one of the following two techniques can be used to measure your AC
A simpler and less accurate way of measurement is a walk/run test.
This requires walking/running at the maximum speed you can and measuring your heart rate at the end of it.
With this measurement, you can use one of the many online calculators that are available to check your Aerobic Capacity.
For instance, Rockport walk test is one such calculator that requires the input of your heart rate, time of the run/walk, and your weight to calculate your Aerobic Capacity.
Genes majorly control a lot of factors that have an association with the fitness levels of an individual.
According to a study in 2016, 155 genetic markers were found to be associated with better athletic performance, 93 of which were endurance-related markers, and the other 62 were power/strength related markers.
Polymorphisms of ACE, ADRB, ACTN3, PPARGC1A were one of the first genetic markers found to be associated with athletic performance.
There's another famous exercise genetics study conducted by a consortium of five universities in the United States and Canada revealed astonishing variation in the aerobic capacity amongst the 481 participants.
The study subjected its participants to identical stationary-bicycle training regimens with three workouts per week of increasing intensity under strict control in the lab.
These can be attributed to the variants of genes like NRF1, NRF2, VEGF, PPARA, etc. that an individual carries.
The nuclear respiratory factor (NRF2) gene influences the vo2 max. NRF2 regulates the expression of antioxidant proteins and thus can influence the oxygen uptake.
|AA||57.5 % higher training response|
|CC||Normal training response|
Some genes affect a few secondary traits that exert influence on aerobic capacity.
For example, genetic variations in VEGF in the gene influence heart structure, size, and function. These have an impact on the stroke volume which is an important determinant of aerobic performance.
|GG||Reduced aerobic performance|
|CC||Normal aerobic performance|
Genetics is only 50% of the fitness story.
The rest wires down to other factors like your lifestyle, your eating habits, and your training.
Getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week is vital to ensure a longer healthier life
Augmenting your aerobic capacity can result in better blood and oxygen flow to muscles.
Therefore, this promotes faster recovery between sets and improves your flexibility.
Aerobic exercises include walking, running, cycling, swimming, and almost every other cardio workout.
When aerobic exercises are performed, your heart is trained to deliver more oxygen in a said span of time, and at the same time, your muscles are trained to utilize the oxygen delivered more efficiently.
To improve your aerobic capacity, it is important to understand how your body builds endurance.
It depends on the following three things:
When you train to increase all the above-mentioned variables, naturally the amount of blood and oxygen, reaching your muscles increase.
This, in turn, has a positive effect on your overall athletic performance.
Aerobic training usually, targets large muscle groups of your body that boost your heart rate for longer periods of time.
Some of the commonly recommended aerobic exercises include
Some of the aerobic exercises that you can do at home include:
If you are already not inspired to take up aerobics, take a look at the benefits you can acquire from aerobic training.
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Our unique genetic profile can make some of us more suitable for endurance activities, others for more intense sprinting activities or power training.
Genes involved in ‘endurance type of activities’ minimize muscle fatigue during prolonged period of mild to moderate intensity exercises, while genes involved in ‘sprinting’ relate to power, rapid bursts of energy, and optimum energy utilisation for activities of shorter duration. Depending upon the expression of Endurance/ Sprinting genes a person is categorized as adaptive for either of these.
There are two different types of muscle fibres which are important for these activities, each type being regulated by specific genes. Type I or slow twitch muscle fibres are mainly responsible for improving endurance. In contrast, Type II or fast twitch muscle fibres allow us to perform rapid, high intensity exercises.
It is a proven fact that regular exercise assures health benefits and improves your fitness level. It is noteworthy that genes determine your adaptability for the type, intensity and duration of activity (endurance/sprinting) based on your capacity for aerobic metabolism, extent of muscle fatigue and the time required for its recovery and slow/fast twitch muscle contraction. Therefore, based on specific variations within these genes in a person’s DNA, the type of exercise (endurance/sprinting) suitable for that person can be determined.
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