At your next workout, think about this. Strenuous exercise appears to dull the urge to eat afterward a lot better than a gentler workout according to two new studies. Experts are starting to see that intense exercise may bring the body some truly unique benefits as well as being surprisingly enjoyable, helping you feel really good.
This is probably why short, intense workouts are so popular. For those who aren’t familiar, these workouts involve intervals that involve bursts of hard effort with a short recovery before picking up the pace again. The sessions can last for 4 minutes, 7 minutes or just a bit longer. Earlier work has found that intense training, not matter how short, usually helps aerobic fitness and some other key markers of health (blood pressure, insulin sensitivity) as effectively as longer sessions of moderate exercise.
The first study to address the question was published online in The International Journal of Obesity, where a team from the University of Western Australia tried to compare the effects of easy vs. exhausting exercise on a person’s later desire to eat. The researchers recruited 17 overweight but otherwise healthy men in their 20s-30s and asked them to show up at the university on four different days.
One session was spent reading or resting for 30 minutes, another day the men rode an exercise bike continuously for 30 minutes at a moderate pace. A third day involved 30 minutes of intervals, riding for one minute at 100% of their capacity, then pedaling gently for 4 minutes. The last day was the hardest, the men straining through 15 seconds of pedaling at 170% of their normal endurance capacity, then pedaling at under 30% of their maximum for a minute. The sequence was repeated during the 30 minutes of exercise.
Before and after the exercise and rest, the researchers drew blood to check the levels of substances that are known to impact appetite. They also gave the subjects a standardized liquid breakfast at the end of each exercise session. About 70 minutes after the exercise, they let the men eat at a table loaded with sweetened but bland porridge-the offering without rich aromas or other aspects of a food that might influence a desire to eat.
As it turned out, the offering was very appealing to the men after resting or pedaling at a modest pace, but the appetite was noticeably blunted by the interval workouts, in particular the most strenuous one. After that session the subjects picked at the porridge, eating far less. The men also showed far lower levels of the hormone ghrelin, known to stimulate appetite and higher levels of both blood lactate and blood sugar, both known to bring down the desire to eat.
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Reduce Appetite With Exercise Continued…
The appetite suppressing effect of the most intense workouts held into the next day according to the food diaries that the subjects completed.
These results are similar to those of a second study of exercise intensity an appetite that appeared last year in the journal PLoS One. In this study obese teenage boys were asked to spend a day in an enclosed metabolic chamber that measured their energy intake and output. The boys visited three times, once resting, and on the other two visits exercised on a stationary bike at a moderate of highly intense pace until they burned nearly 330 calories.
After they were allowed to eat what they wanted from a varied buffet, and they chose plenty, enough to replace their energy output each time. But after the intense sessions they ate a lot less overall, about 10% fewer calories than when resting or moderately pedaling. So an intense workout does seem to bring a short-term suppression of food intake.
Keep in mind that these studies are very short term, looking at only one session of an exercise program. Both studies also used pretty young male subjects, all overweight. Weeks or months or intense training may have an impact on appetite and weight management, but more research needs to be done to see if this holds true for women, older men and those of normal weight.
To your good health,