Can you Pass on your Fit Genes to your Children?


A new research study, one that was just released this week, shows that what we all know is true-if you are physically fit you are more resistant to diseases and illnesses. However, it also shows us something we didn’t know-some people are just naturally in better shape than others.

The study done by researchers from the Neuromuscular Research Center at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland was published in the FASEB Journal. It explains that those who have low aerobic exercise capacity have a higher incidence of contracting diseases and illnesses (think: cold and flu season!). However, the researchers did not expect to find that when they bred fit mice with other fit mice, their offspring were fitter, naturally1!

So, yes, it is just mice right now, but it may be possible that we genetically dispose our children to be in better shape from the womb. If you are a runner and your husband or wife is a runner, your children may turn out to be runners, and if they aren’t they may just be fitter for your having been athletes1.

In turn, this means that our offspring will be healthier, too, as those who are more fit have a better immune system, and can often breeze through cold and flu season without a care. So, exercise. Eat right. Do it for yourself…and do it for your future children!

1. R. Kivela, M. Silvennoinen, M. Lehti, R. Rinnankoski-Tuikka, T. Purhonen, T. Ketola, K. Pullinen, M. Vuento, N. Mutanen, M. A. Sartor, H. Reunanen, L. G. Koch, S. L. Britton, H. Kainulainen. Gene expression centroids that link with low intrinsic aerobic exercise capacity and complex disease risk. The FASEB Journal, 2010; DOI: 10.1096/fj.10-157313


  1. Regarding genes: My father was born into a German immigrant family in 1917. Despite having parents with a basic education, his I.Q. was 197, and he excelled at everything he did. He also was never ill…he never missed a day of school or work, never had measles, mumps, chicken pox, whooping cough, caught polio (a scourge of his time), etc. Graduated from universities with 4 degrees, etc. etc. His children, 5, were all healthy and smart except for allergies (from my mother’s English family side)
    Then, at the age of 57, he became ill and passed away a year later of leukemia. I’ll never understand it. I’d never seen him with even a cough or runny nose, and always with a smile and joy exuding from his being. What happened!?


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