LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center is taking part in a nationwide research project that seeks to dig down to the molecular level to find out why exercise provides health benefits.

Associate Executive Director for Clinical Science at Pennington Dr. Eric Ravussin says they’ll be creating a comprehensive molecular map of what happens when people exercise, and how it impacts health.

“We don’t know really what the mechanisms are going from being regular exercisers to all of these health benefits.”

Ravussin says it will take years to get enough information to begin cracking the code, but once they do they may be able to tailor exercise regimens to each person’s unique body and genetics.

“Is resistance training better for you than for me? Is endurance training better for you than me? Is a combination of the two the most beneficial?”

The doctor adds that it could also help identify those who would not find much benefit in additional exercise.

To pull this off they’ll need 300 adult volunteers who are sedentary but still in good health, and 50 highly active adults who focus on either endurance or resistance training. Ravussin says the commitment for each sedentary volunteer is about four to five months.

The study will feature 1,980 participants across the US at 11 different sites.