Don't Like to Exercise? Go Ahead and Blame Your Mom

Moms who exercise while pregnant have more active kids, according to a new study.
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I'm gonna be honest here. I HATE exercising. Always have. I can scroll through FitMom pics on Instagram and watch YouTube workouts all day. I somehow find them hypnotic. But do either of these things ever inspire me to actually get up and work out? Nope.

I've always chalked my aversion to physical activity up to laziness. But now it turns out, the whole thing may actually be my mom's fault! Because a new study has found that women who exercise during pregnancy help their babies turn into sporty adults. (And I have never seen my genetically blessed mother exercise a day in her life.)

Baylor College of Medicine researchers studied a bunch of mice and found that the ones born to mothers who exercised during pregnancy were about 50 percent more physically active than those born to moms who didn't exercise. Wow! And not only that, the ramped-up activity level lasted into adulthood.

"Although most people assume that an individual's tendency to be physical active is determined by genetics, our results clearly show that the environment can play an important role during fetal development," said senior author Dr. Robert A. Waterland.

And yes, I know we are talking about mice here, but according to Waterland, several human observational studies have also found that women who are physically active when pregnant have kids who are pretty much born to run.

Of course, these results could be attributed to things like a genetic predisposition to physical activity, or to a mom's influence on her kids after they're born. Which is why Waterman says his mouse model—where those effects were removed from the equation—is so important. And if a similar effect can be confirmed in people, it could represent an effective strategy to counteract the current worldwide obesity epidemic.

"I think our results offer a very positive message," Waterland explained. "If expectant mothers know exercise is not only good for them but also may offer lifelong benefits for their babies, I think they will be more motivated to get moving."

I know I would have been. Probably.

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and a mom. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and follow her on Twitter at @holleewoodworld.

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