Mapmygenome’s Anu Acharya runs for 20 minutes every day. At a stretch. Her mantra is that, with time, patience and practice, anyone can do it. In theory, we agree with her. But the scientific question that arises is, what makes some people stronger and better at athletic performance, when compared to others?
The answer to that lies in your DNA (yes, there’s no getting away from your genes)! Several researchers have found a deep association between the ACTN3 gene (that encodes a muscle protein called alpha-actinin-3) and fitness levels in sports athletes. There are two variants of this gene (ACTN3 577RR and 577XX) that affect sprint and endurance athletes, respectively. Sprint athletes are required to perform high-intensity, short-interval physical events that require sudden bursts of speed and power.
Endurance athletes, on the other hand, display continuous muscle resistance and cardiovascular strength over longer periods of time during the event.
Having said that, it is better to think that the human body is more than well adapted to a bit of training and routine exercise. So, even if you are not genetically ”blessed” with a sports gene in your DNA, don’t stop doing what you already are. If you eat right, get enough protein and have the right discipline, your athletics will show through, too. Consistency is key. Muscle needs to be built first, conditioned right (so that it burns up fat) and maintained with regular exercise. This may come easily to some, not so much for others. You can blame the DNA (get your Genomepatri here!). Or… you can just keep at it every day till you get there.
Run. Run because it feels like there is no tomorrow.
Run because you badly want to make it.
Run because you have only that much time left to reach the finish line.
Run early in the morning because the sun is warm.
Run in the evening because you want to feel the breeze.
Run today because you will make tomorrow better.
Run to energize, revive and restore.
Run because then you will be forced to think of nothing else but your heartbeat.