Are You a Marathon Runner? Depends on Your DNA

Elite runners tend to be 5'7" and weigh around 140 pounds

A really interesting article today discusses how similar in body type elite marathoners are.  In general, they are plus or minus two inches of 5'7" and weigh within a few pounds of 140 (1.7 m and 63.5 kg). I've been saying this for years: your DNA will pick your sport for you if you let it, and this is a great example.  Generally speaking, short people can't be pro basketball players and tall people can't be jockeys. Of course, you can think of exceptions without too much effort; Kenyan Robert Cheruiyot is 6'3" and he's won the Boston Marathon four times. But it's interesting to think about.  Have you ever tried a sport and just felt at home?  Everything just clicked and you flourished?  From ballet to rugby, there are so many ways to move your body that it makes sense to explore a lot of options and see where your body feels happiest. The article on running had a great point, though.  You can overcome your DNA with smart training.
"Most injuries are usually a result of things that have nothing to do with body type," says Reed Ferber, director of the Running Injury Clinic in Calgary.  "Mechanics, strength, flexibility, and alignment play a much greater role in injury, and injury prevention, than body type," he says. “I firmly believe that anybody can run a marathon. It’s taking into consideration those four factors." ~ Globe and Mail
So you shouldn't stop doing a sport you love just because your DNA is working against you, but you should know that you have to train smarter to avoid injury. What do you think of all this?  What is your favorite sport and do the elite who compete in that discipline have a similar body type to yours?  Do you think you should give a nod to your DNA when you're trying out different activities?  What about for your kids? I am doing this with my son; he's going to be over six feet if family history stays true.  We all love to run, including his tall Dad, but we're also introducing him to volleyball and, when he's older, crew.  All sports that are perfect fits for tall, lanky guys. Cheers, and thanks to @Fitcheerleadr for bringing this article to my attention.

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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3 Responses to Are You a Marathon Runner? Depends on Your DNA

  1. Alicia July 12, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    I think there’s DNA and then there’s what your family legacy is…. In my family, we have strong swimmers and a history of running. Those two don’t work for me. Lucky enough, there’s also a history of basketball in my family (my dad and grandfather both played — my grandfather in college even), so I inherited that — and I’m so very thankful I did. A basketball court is like home to me. :-) I’m 5’6″ on a good day, but I can pass and shoot like a pro, thanks to years and years of playing high school and one year in college. :-) I miss playing, but I know that awesome feeling can come rushing back just by picking up a ball. When/if I have kids, you best believe they’ll be playing hoops with their mama. :-)

  2. Lisa Johnson July 12, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

    Great point Alicia about looking at what other family members do and being inspired by them. Even though swimming and running isn’t your thing, you saw the basketball and went for it and it’s something you hope to pass on to your own someday. That’s cool. :-)

  3. herbalife diet program July 13, 2011 at 2:30 am #

    You are absolutely right.Its our DNA and inner instinct that allow us to choose sports for us,not only sports but your lifestyle also.I too experience the same thing.I believe you carry the same values and ethics which were carried by your forefathers.

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