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Genetics is changing how Sports is approached- in a better way
ACTN3 is just one among more than 20,000 genes in the human body. But it’s a special gene all the same for its link with athletic abilities. The R variant of ACTN3 instructs the body to produce a protein, alpha-actinin-3, found specifically in fast-twitch muscles. Those muscles are suited for speed and power sports. Their variant prevents the production of the protein and good for endurance sports.
Example like this shows that genetic test can help determine a child’s inclination – whether for speed and power sports like sprinting or football, or for endurance sports like distance running, or even a judicious blend of both worlds.
Given the right consultation by a responsible genetic practitioner, genetic testing can become your reliable guide to finding your child’s sports niche, which at a crucial stage may help him /her choose between an academic scholarship or a career as a professional athlete or may even discourage overzealous parents to force-fit their ambition into the child’s system if the natural inclination is found amiss.
Genetics and Possibilities in Sports
And genetic testing is not just about the ACTN3 gene. Genetic testing is a fast-evolving science with rich possibilities. It can help us:
Discover how our genes influence our athletic ability or the lack of it;
Tailored training plans and conditioning programs based on your sports genetic testing results;
Genetic predisposition determination can be valuable in outlining training and conditioning programs necessary for athletic and sports development; Learning about our inborn abilities to engage in either endurance sports or power sports by knowing more about:
How are our muscles like – how blood supply is regulated in them, what’s their work capacity and what are the metabolic processes involved?
What are the type of muscle fibers—fast-twitch or slow-twitch?
How much energy can your cells and muscles guarantee during exercise to withstand fatigue?
Although there’s no hard and fast rule about the right age for genetic testing to gauge and groom natural athletic abilities, schooling years are the best time as there’s ample time to track a child’s sports performance too. It will help in bridging the gap between consultative predictions and actual performance, and, tailor workouts suited to their body types.
Needless to say, there’s no substitute for hard work and perseverance as also the joy of self-discovery as to one’s natural athletic abilities. But genetic testing is no doubt a helpful tool to gain proficiency in specific sports that one’s genes may have a natural affinity for. More importantly, it can help predict the potential for success in the given sport.