Science Explains Couch Potatoes

Attention, lazy bones! Are you a couch potato? Well, don't just sit there, do nothing ... and tell the world it's not your fault. Instead, blame your parents for giving you bad genes:

You may think your lack of resolve to get off the couch to exercise is because you're lazy, but McMaster University researchers have discovered it may be you are missing key genes.

The researchers made their unexpected finding while working with healthy, specially-bred mice, some of which had two genes in muscle essential for exercise removed. The genes control the protein AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), an enzyme that is switched on when you exercise.

"Mice love to run," said Gregory Steinberg, associate professor of medicine in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and Canada Research Chair in Metabolism and Obesity.

"While the normal mice could run for miles, those without the genes in their muscle could only run the same distance as down the hall and back. It was remarkable. The mice looked identical to their brothers or sisters but within seconds we knew which ones had the genes and which one didn't."

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