Washington: As the Christmas season approaches, people tend to eat more and consume more calories than they actually burn, thus bringing detrimental health impacts, but a new study has revealed that a daily bout of exercise helps lessens many of the harmful physiological effects of short-term overeating and inactivity.
James Betts, one of the researchers from The University of Bath, said exercise has positive effects even when we are actively storing energy and gaining weight.
After just one week of overeating, people being monitored 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.
"Our research demonstrates that a short period of overconsumption and reduced physical activity leads to very profound negative changes in a variety of physiological systems - but that a daily bout of exercise stops most of these negative changes from taking place," Jean-Philippe Walhin, a researcher on the study, said.
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 asked to overeat: the non-exercising group increased their caloric intake by 50 per cent, whilst the exercising group increased by 75 per cent, so everyone's net daily energy surplus was the same.
After one week, the groups had blood insulin measurements and biopsies of fat tissue taken, with striking results. The non-exercising group showed a significant and unhealthy decline in their blood sugar control, and their fat cells were overexpressing genes linked to unhealthy metabolic changes and were under-expressing genes involved in well-functioning metabolism.
However, the exercising group had stable blood sugar levels and their fat cells showed less 'undesirable' genetic expression.
The study is published in The Journal of Physiology.