For those of us who tend to over-indulge during the Christmas and New Year season, as the party invites roll in, new research finds that a bout of daily exercise lessens the harmful effects of your seasonal feasting.
A study, published in The Journal of Physiology, finds that daily exercise “generates vast physiological benefits even when you consume thousands of calories more than you are burning,” researchers who conducted the study, said.
“This new research shows that exercise has positive effects even when we are actively storing energy and gaining weight,” said researcher James Betts of the University of Bath in the UK.
In the study, 26 healthy young men were asked to be generally inactive in their daily activities. Half of the group then exercised daily on a treadmill for 45 minutes. Everyone was then asked to overeat. The non-exercising group increased their caloric intake by 50%, while the exercising group increased theirs by 75%, so everyone’s net daily energy surplus was the same.
After just one week of over-eating, subjects showed poor blood sugar control and their fat cells were expressing genes that lead to unhealthy metabolic changes and disrupted nutritional balance. However, these negative effects were markedly less in those who were exercising.
“If you are facing a period of overconsumption and inactivity, which is probably quite common around Christmas time,” said senior author Dr. Dylan Thompson, “then our study shows that a daily bout of exercise will prevent negative changes from taking place even though you gain weight.”