Many of us avoid exercise while on a diet because we are worried it will increase our hunger while we are trying to be “good.” Exercise plays a crucial role in burning calories and helping us be fit and trim. New research can put your worry to rest. Working out not only doesn’t increase your appetite: it regulates hunger and may help you avoid overeating.
A study in a real-world environment showed that people who exercised while they were on a diet had an easier time sticking to their plan. “Almost all behavioral weight loss programs prescribe exercise because of its health benefits and because it expends energy or ‘burns calories,’” said Rebecca Crochiere, lead author of the study at Drexel Univ. “Interestingly, our study suggests that exercise may also aid in adhering to a reduced-calorie diet, perhaps through improved regulation of appetite or eating behavior. It adds another reason to engage in exercise if one is seeking weight loss.”
People in the study who didn’t exercise had a 12 percent risk of overeating. The people who worked out for an hour had only a five percent risk of overeating. For every extra ten minutes, the risk when down by one more percent. The exercise that was seen to help the most was light. Vigorous exercise was not seen to have the same level of benefit.
Some research has shown that yoga, a gentle work out, can reduce binge eating by 51 percent. Researchers are not quite sure why exercise lowers appetite. But, they believe it might be the brain chemicals exercise releases. Brain cells linked to hunger and heat sensitivity may play a more significant role. In a previous animal test, they saw that, as the body gets hotter through exercise, mice ate less. When the researchers lowered the expression of those cells and kept the subjects cool, despite exercising, they didn’t see the same lessening of hunger.
“These findings can help researchers to better understand when participants who are seeking weight loss are at risk of overeating,” said Ms. Crochiere. “It can inform the development of treatments that prevent overeating and facilitate weight loss.”
Hopefully, this information will make you feel better armed. We are big proponents of exercise. It helps strengthen your body and mind. From gardening and walking, to yoga and biking, to swimming and weight training, we love it all. We encourage people to get up and get out. This study may make you feel more impetus to start working out. But, before starting any new exercise routine, speak to your doctor about what’s right for you!