If you feel guilty about not being able to exercise daily, here’s some good news – one workout may boost your metabolism for days!

Did you miss a gym class or have you no time to go for that run?

Don’t beat yourself up! While it’s important to aim to be physically active daily, new research has found that sedentary stretches of a day or two don’t necessarily affect your waistline.

In a mouse study, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers found that neurons that influence metabolism are active for up to two days after a single workout.

One workout reduces appetite for days

The study measured the effects of short- and long-term exercise on two types of neurons that comprise the melanocortin brain circuit, which is shared by both humans and mice.

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One of the neuron types – POMC – is associated with reduced appetite, lower blood glucose levels, and higher energy burning when activated. The other type – NPY/AgRP – increases appetite and diminishes metabolism when activated.

The study found that a single bout of exercise can boost the activity of POMC neurons and inhibit the counterpart NPY/AgRP neuron for up to two days. Those changes last longer with more training.

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It doesn’t take much exercise

“It doesn’t take much exercise to alter the activity of these neurons,” says Dr Kevin Williams, a neuroscientist at UT Southwestern. “Based on our results, we would predict that getting out and exercising even once in a semi-intense manner can reap benefits that can last for days, in particular with respect to glucose metabolism.”

Scientists found that a single workout (consisting of three 20-minute treadmill runs) caused a decrease in appetite that lasted up to six hours.

The longer-term effects of exercise were seen in the POMC neurons, which improve glucose metabolism when activated. These neurons remained active longer if they also expressed a protein called the leptin receptor.

Source: UT Southwestern Medical Center via www.sciencedaily.com

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.