Don't Feel Like Exercising? Missing Key Genes May Be The Reason

If you have made a home for yourself on your sofa and the mere prospect of exercise drains you of energy, it could be laziness OR it could be that you are missing some key genes!

Researchers made this discovery by removing two genes from the muscles of mice which are essential to exercise. The genes that were removed control the protein AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), an enzyme that is switched on during exercise. Mice love to run, but those with the removed genes were very limited in the activity they did, if doing any at all!

A lack in muscle AMPK genes means that there is lack of motivation and/or ability to participate in exercise. If you don’t exercise, the number of mitochondria available for energy production decreases and an impaired ability for muscles to take up glucose during physical activity emerges. This cycle further re-enforces the negative feelings towards exercise and lethargy when trying to be physically active.


Steinberg G, Couch Potatoes Explained? Missing Key Genes may be Cause for Lack of Resolve to Exercise, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011.

About the Author

Job Role Sports Nutritionist and Social Media Coordinator Qualifications Bsc Sport and Exercise Science Steph has a competitive athletic background which spans 19 years. As a child she performed with the English Youth Ballet and had performed on the West End stage by the age of 10. Her enthusiasm for sport and fitness continued to grow as she did, encouraging her to learn more about nutrition and training. She began using her knowledge and personal experience to help others when she began coaching at the age of 16. From here, she went on to study Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Essex during which time she also received the Most Promising Newcomer Award from her University to mark her outstanding contribution to sport. During her first year of study she was introduced to partner stunt acrobatics and artistic gymnastics. After one year of dedicating herself to a lifestyle revolving around her sport, she was training with the best team in the UK who are currently ranked fifth in the world. Steph has worked in both the private and public sector coaching children and adults from grassroot to elite level as well as providing them with cutting edge advice on how to reach their goals. Steph has received awards for her choreography and has competed nationally and internationally meaning that she can back up her scientific knowledge with a wealth of experience. As our resident Sports Nutritionist, Steph is here to provide the most current and evidence based fitness, health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
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