So what’s your tactic for battling the Christmas bulge? Indulge yourself and think about it in January? Tape your mouth up all December long, then probably go crazy and give in come the day? A new study from University of Bath suggests that a small amount of daily exercise could erase or lessen the impact, even if you stuff your face or slob on the sofa for the rest of the festive season.
26 healthy young men took part in the trail, all of which had normal metabolisms and blood sugar levels. They were then asked by the Bath team to do a lot of sitting about and overeating.
Researchers then split the group into two; one group were asked to run at a moderately intense pace on a treadmill for 45 minutes (running at 70 per cent of maximum oxygen intake), and the other group did no exercise at all.
Both groups were still asked to keep general activity to a minimum – taking their daily steps from 10,000 to fewer than 4,000 (not including the treadmill).
They were also asked to start substantially overeating.
The non-exercising group increased their daily caloric intake by 50 per cent, and the exercising group by 75 per cent, the additional 25 per cent to replace the energy burned during training.
After only a week the men went back to the lab and found the fully slobbed-out group displayed a significant and unhealthy decline in their blood sugar control, and their biopsied fat cells seemed to have developed a malicious streak.
However, the volunteers who had been on the treadmill once a daily, despite the exact same lifestyle otherwise, showed good blood sugar control and their fat cells showed far fewer undesirable alterations.
Energy surplus (or in other words, taking in more than you’re burning off), although not recommended, is inevitable at this time of year.
However what we can learn from this study is that introducing just a little damage limitation in the form of a bit of daily movement could do wonders.
Dr Thompson, professor of health sciences at the University of Bath, said that although this study involved young, fit men and a relatively prolonged period of exercise, the findings likely apply to other groups, like older adults and women, and perhaps to lesser amounts of training. So even if you can’t hit the treadmill for 45 minutes a day, a 20 minute brisk walk will still make a difference
Lydia Jones blogs at abitofwhatifancy.blogspot.co.uk
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