A blood test could reveal which type of exercise is most effective for you

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For many of us, the past year has included a new and challenging fitness journey. Weight machines were installed in basements around the country, people ran around their own neighborhoods for the first time ever, or fancy Peloton bikes were purchased. Many of these workout regimens, although set with good intention, were met with varying results by the bodies they were intended to chisel. But, for those less successful fitness journeys, what if there was a way to figure out which exercise would be most effective before you even squeeze one leg into a pair of yoga pants? Well, according to new research, a blood test might be the key.

A small but revealing study of 654 participants, published in May in Nature Metabolism, looked into how certain molecules in people’s blood might be related to how their bodies react to workouts. After analyzing these individuals’ blood, researchers zoomed in on clusters of protein molecules created in our body tissue, that "when released into the bloodstream, flow to and jump-start biological processes elsewhere," the Times reported. These varieties of protein molecules affect how well our bodies work. As you may know, we breathe a lot when we exercise by taking in oxygen into the blood, which aids all sorts of physiological processes associated with exercise, which build muscle, burn fat, and more.

Using advanced modern technology, the scientists analyzed everyone’s aerobic fitness before and after five months of exercise, and clear patterns emerged, according to the research. Among the most fascinating results discovered was that a different set of proteins tended to predict our bodies' physical response to exercise. Basically, higher or lower levels of these molecules indicated whether someone’s "aerobic capacity would increase, if at all, with exercise," reported the Times, on the research. 

In laypeople's terms, someone who isn’t finding results by doing such aerobic exercises like walking, cycling, or swimming may fare better with higher intensity workouts or resistance training, according to Robert Gerszten, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of cardiovascular medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who conducted the study with its lead author, Jeremy Robbins. This may be welcome news to people who run miles and miles and never seem to get the changes they want.

Please keep in mind that fitness and the overall health of a body is not directly linked to the shape of it, so for all of us big and small, a blood test could help us decide how to work out toward our own ideal bodies and health goals, whatever that looks like. Hot Girl Summer might be something we all are a blood test away from — or you know, Healthy Girl Summer. You can still twerk with broccoli in your hand.