Doing One Simple Thing When You're Pregnant May Save Your Kids From Hating Exercise

It makes sense that kids who grow up around active parents are likely to follow suit, but there may be an even better way to help them grow up loving exercise: New research recently published inThe FASEB Journal suggests that working out while you're pregnant could help you spawn a fitness fanatic.

In the study, researchers assessed the offspring of genetically identical pregnant mice broken into two groups: Those who had access to a running wheel and used it (as mice do), and those who had no running wheel to exercise on. The baby mice showed no extra interest in exercise when they were super young, regardless of their mothers' activity during pregnancy. But fast forward to adolescence and adulthood, and the running moms' offspring spend more time on their running wheels and moved around their cages more frequently than the mice born to inactive moms.

While mice are obviously quite a bit different from humans, one of the study's co-authors told The New York Times that the results imply "a mother's physical activity during pregnancy likely affects the physical activity of her offspring" — possibly because jiggling in the womb alters development in parts of the baby's brain responsible for motor control and behavior, or because moms who exercise generate biochemicals that pass through the placenta and affect their baby's genetic makeup and physiology.

Like most studies of this sort, more research is needed to nail down specifics, like how much you'd need to move to give birth to a D1 athlete or Olympian.


In the meantime, most experts encourage pregnant woman get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days, assuming your doctor gives you the go. So go ahead: Move a little once you decide to grow a kid.

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