Tonight while out taking a walk I was thinking of DNA and sports.
I remember back when I was in 7th grade and the coach taking us out on a country road and observing us run. He was looking to see which events we might be good at in Track and Field.
The method worked pretty good as many of us were placed in events that we did well in.
However, today we can use a DNA test to perhaps predict what sports, positions or events athletes may do well in.
In Ancestry DNA Traits there are now a handful of categories that can help make this decision.
My DNA shows that I have genes that are found in elite endurance athletes. Perhaps that was why I ran in distance races while in school.
My DNA also shows that my Heart Rate recovers quicker. This allowed me to train more efficiently. It would also be a good trait if I had played soccer.
For Muscle Fatigue the DNA points to an average rate, but combined with the trait above I would perhaps recover quicker.
My DNA shows that I have an average ability to raise my VO2 Max, as long as I exercise regularly of course. This something that can be easily observed in daily life.
Our new office has stairs, and when we first moved in it was difficult to walk all the way up the stairs to the third floor without being a bit out of breath. After walking up the steps for a couple weeks it was much easier.
However, I have been out of the office now for about three weeks and not climbing any stairs. I will probably struggle a bit when I am back in the office next time, especially if I am wearing a mask.
The DNA Traits results also showed that I have the “sprinter gene.” This surprised me a bit as I was never as good at short distances as I was a longer ones. However, the main event that I ran is considered a sprint at the elite level of competition. You pretty much have to run full out in the 800m. We just considered it middle distance.
Thinking about the combination of the Sprinter Gene and the Endurance, this would be a good combination for a half miler.
There are many genes that influence athletic performance and research is ongoing on many of them. I foresee a future where DNA tests will be used more and more in sports.
DNA can also be used to help construct nutrition plans for athletes as many genes also influence how foods are metabolized and how energy is gained from them.
Someday I will write about an Olympic athlete from the 1930’s who was a 4th cousin of my Great Grandmother. My Dad shares segments of DNA with his daughter, and there are other athletes in the same branch of the family. Perhaps that branch of the family is where some of the traits above come from.
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