Study shows exercise passes on good health to offspring

T-L Photo/Carri Graham Travis Clark works out with son Kohl and grandson Alijah at Source Gym in St. Clairsville.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Pregnant women are asked to make healthy choices so that their unborn child will exhibit healthy traits, however a new study suggests that men’s lifestyle choices may also affect their unborn children.

As Father’s Day approached this year, a study performed by Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center suggests that men’s lifestyle choices prior to conception may have a lifelong impact on their children.

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center recently performed a study involving male mice. Researchers studied groups of mice, half of whom were fed a normal diet, while others were fed a high-fat diet. Some were inactive and others exercised freely. Those who were fed a normal diet and exercised produced offspring with better metabolic health, lower body weight and less fat mass. The inactive mice with a high-fat diet passed along traits of poor metabolic health and higher glucose intolerance.

Researchers have found that moderate exercise, even a month or so before conception, can have major benefits to his children’s metabolic health.

The study suggests diet and exercise are even more important genetically than once thought.

Belmont County resident Travis “The Terror” Clark knows that both are extremely important aspects of one’s life. He has not only been a champion and professional boxer, kickboxer and cage fighter, he is also a father to four boys, all of whom are involved in physical activities, following in their father’s footsteps. Clark has two biological sons, Kale and Kole, and two stepsons, Matthew and Abhay.

He said he has tried to instill his healthy lifestyle habits into his children by eating well, exercising, and treating others the way you want to be treated, but he also agrees that some traits are inherited.

“Getting to watch my sons excel in sports, as athletes, and working out is incredible. … It’s definitely in your DNA,” he said.

Clark has been exercising since he began wrestling when he was just 10-years old. He explained why he believes exercising is a crucial and influential part of leading a healthy lifestyle.

“I think it is very important for your health, mental health, as well as physical health. It gets the blood flowing. I just think its a great release for stress. It’s a great way to benefit yourself as your relieving stress and anxiety. It’s a great release of all the negative things and puts positive into your body,” he said.

Clark believes that the study could be accurate. His oldest son, 19-year-old Kale, went to state for wrestling and football. Younger son, 17-year-old Kole, is involved in wrestling, boxing, and football. Clark also has two step-sons, 26-year-old Matthew and 23-year-old Abhay, who are also involved in many extracurricular activities. Matthew plays basketball and Abhay is a fighter now and has been training with Clark.

“I believe it does. If you ingrain and make that a part of your life and your daily routine, then it’s apart of your DNA. Both of my boys, I’ve never forced them to do anything and they’ve both become phenomenal athletes,” he said about his biological sons.

The family of athletes are all very close, enjoying and pursuing similar activities as one another.

“All of my sons, we’ve been very fortunate enough to train with each other, work out together,” Clark said.

Clark will soon open his own gym in Morristown called Team Terr Fitness Center. He recently purchased the Morristown Elementary School, where he attended school as a child.

The new fitness center will be an open gym for all, but is also geared toward Clark’s passion, working with children with developmental disabilities.

“Team Terr Fitness is all about working with the handicapped and people with autism…I work with them during the day, I still work with my fighters at night. Everything I’ve ever done in my life; my sports, being a champion, winning belts, nothing is better than working with these kids. It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever done. At the end of the day, it has been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, working with these kids and getting to see my sons excel in sports in and as athletes,” Clark said.

Team Terr Fitness Center will open July 1 and is located at 201 Cross Street in Morristown.

Team Terr Fitness will also be sponsoring a Disability Pride Parade Walkathon on 10:30 a.m. on July 13, at the new gym’s location. The two-mile walk will include a parade in honor of disability pride week. Midpoint will be a break available at the park. The finish line will include a celebration of awards and the grand opening of Team Terror Fitness at the new location. Funds raised will support Autism Fitness at Team Terror Fitness. Everyone is urged to create signs to show pride in the parade. For additional information call TTF staff at 740-238-4050 or email at