Older individuals with a certain gene variation who exercise are less likely to develop mobility limitations than individuals without the gene variation.
Mobility limitation (i.e., difficulty walking and climbing steps) is common and is strongly related to major health outcomes, and may represent a stage in the disablement process amenable to intervention, according to background information in the article. Approximately 34 percent of the U.S. population 70 years and older report walking limitations, i.e., difficulty walking a quarter mile. Those reporting such difficulty are at nearly 4 times the risk of nursing home placement and 3 times the risk of death over 2 years compared with those reporting no difficulty. In older adults, more physical activity is consistently associated with less functional decline.
Despite exercise’s general benefit, individual responses to exercise vary. The basis for this is unclear, but there appears to be a strong genetic component. A certain gene variation (an insertion [I]/deletion [D] polymorphism in intron 16 of the angiotensin-converting enzyme [ACE]) gene has been identified as a potential marker for differential response to exercise in younger adults.