Exercise Works Even When You're Done
According to a recent study by researchers at Appalachian State University and the University of North Carolina, a 45-minute bout of vigorous exercise can boost a person's energy expenditure for up to 14 hours. The study, published by the American College of Sports Medicine, examined energy expenditure among 10 healthy male participants during two nonconsecutive sessions of 24 hours in a metabolic chamber. (The chamber is a small room a person lives in during research while calorie burning is measured during meals, sleep and activities. Researchers measure the heat released from the body to find out how much energy is burned.)
During the first session, participants were mostly inactive, but they stood and stretched for two minutes every hour. They could also perform everyday tasks, such as washing their hands and brushing their teeth, as needed. During the second session, participants followed the same routine, but they cycled vigorously (defined as 73 percent maximal oxygen uptake) for 45 minutes at 11 a.m.
The increased calorie burn lasted for an average of 14.2 hours after exercise and included the first 3.5 hours of sleep. Participants maintained energy balance (expending the same number of calories they consumed) during both sessions, so they consumed snacks on exercise day that replaced the calories they burned during exercise. The calories burned after exercise represent a 37 percent increase in net energy expended compared to no exercise, and these findings may have implications for people trying to lose or manage their weight.
Fight hunger and Lose Weight with a Lighter Lunch
In a study by researchers at Cornell University published in the journal Appetite, participants who ate portion-controlled lunches did not compensate by eating more calories later in the day, leading the researchers to believe that the human body does not possess the mechanisms necessary to notice a small drop in energy intake. The study closely monitored the food intake of 17 volunteers who ate whatever they wanted from a buffet for one week. For the next two weeks, half the group selected their lunch by choosing from one of six commercially available, portion-controlled foods, such as Chef Boyardee Pasta or Campbell's Soup at Hand, but could eat as much as they wished at other meals or snacks. For the final two weeks, the other half of the volunteers followed the same regimen. While eating portion-controlled lunches, each participant consumed 250 fewer calories per day and lost, on average, 1.1 pounds.