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Activate your metabolism with a single bout of exercise

young woman exercising in the park

Credit: BigStock

If you miss working out for a few days, take heart as those sedentary days will not affect your metabolism — as long as you have exercised before that. New research from UT Southwestern Medical Center reveals that when you exercise, your metabolism is active for up to two days afterwards.

The researchers measured the effects of short-term and long-term exercise on two types of neurons — Hypothalamic Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) and Neuropeptide Y/Agouti-Related Peptide (NPY/AgRP). These neurons are critical nodes of the melanocortin brain circuit. POMC is associated with reduced appetite, lower blood glucose levels and higher energy burning when activated while NPY/AgRP increases appetite and lowers metabolism when activated. These neurons reorganise synaptic inputs and electrophysiological properties in response to metabolic state. While the cellular properties of these neurons have been investigated with regards to obesity, very little is known about the effect of exercise training.

The longer-term effects of exercise were seen in the POMC neurons which improve glucose metabolism when activated.

The researchers measured brain circuit activity in mice whose exercise regimen lasted from zero days to 10 days. It was found that a single workout session that consisted of three 20-minute treadmill runs caused a decrease in appetite for up to six hours. The longer-term effects of exercise were seen in the POMC neurons which improve glucose metabolism when activated. The study found that these neurons remain active longer if they also expressed a protein called leptin receptor. A single bout of exercise can activate the POMC neurons while inhibiting the NPY/AgRP neuron for up to two days. These changes last longer with more exercise training. Previous research has shown that the melanocortin circuit can be altered through feeding or fasting, but this study has shown that even exercise can impact the brain’s circuit.

The findings suggest that not much exercise is needed to activate these neurons and even exercising in a semi-intense manner can provide long-lasting benefits, especially with respect to glucose metabolism. This research can provide therapeutic benefits to patients with diabetes who need improved blood-glucose regulation.

Source: Molecular Metabolism


Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!