Campus News

Working it out

There may be a genetic reason some people are pumped to go the gym while others avoid exercise, according to a new study of 3,000 adults.

Many people experience higher levels of dopamine after exercise, giving them a sort of mental reward for their physical work. For some, that benefit doesn’t happen because genes interfere with the release of dopamine.

“Variation in genes for dopamine receptors, as well as some other neural signaling genes, help explain why about 25 percent of the participants drop out of exercise or don’t exercise the recommended amount,” Rodney Dishman, a professor of kinesiology in UGA’s College of Education, told “Combined with personality measures, we think these genes may help explain why some people have a natural urge to be active while others never do.”

Dishman suggests two strategies for building habits around exercise. First, find an activity you enjoy. Second, find others who enjoy that same activity to provide positive encouragement.