Friday, December 28, 2018

How Does Exercise Help Us Manage Weight

There was a 2015 New York Time magazine article that argued that exercise alone is not a good way to lose weight. The author implied that a well-chosen diet was a lot more effective for losing weight than exercise. Indeed, what you eat counts more than your physical activity when trying to get rid of excess body fat. Still, exercise is important in weight loss and weight management. For example, exercise affects some of our genes and some of our hormones.

Exercise can change the way our genes function. For instance, according to one study, exercise can reduce the effects of a gene called the "fat gene." Specifically, the gene called the “fat mass obesity associated” or FTO gene has been shown to heighten the risk of obesity. This gene was documented in 2007. But a recent study concluded that exercise “can reduce the weight-gaining effects of the  ... FTO gene, by about 30%."

And based on another study, exercise causes an increase in a hormone that boosts the metabolism. This boost in metabolism can help manage weight. The hormone is called FGF21. According to the study, the hormone "boosts the process of the body converting food into energy, helping the body burn more calories even while resting – thus helping in weight loss."

The study also gave us information that was quite interesting. The investigators found that the production of FGF21 from cardio training was three times larger than it was from strength training. Thus, to raise the metabolic rate -- at least with respect to FGF21 -- cardio training appears to be more effective than strength training.

So, we know that exercise is beneficial to our health, including weight management. Exercise affects our hormones and genes. Exercise can lessen the effects of excess weight on our health. Therefore, obesity medicine specialists should counsel their patients on the benefits of exercise with or without associated weight loss.


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