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Even a little exercise makes a difference

September 26, 2008 |  8:00 am

For years health and fitness experts have been telling us that doing some exercise — even a little — is better than sitting on the sofa for hours watching endless reruns of "Project Runway."

CycleNow comes some evidence that even one exercise session may rev up the body’s fat-burning rate.

Five obese women were involved in a study recently presented at the American Physiological Society’s conference in Hilton Head, S.C., examining the effect of a single bout of exercise on the body’s fat-burning oxidation rate. They participated in three separate two-day trials; in one, they ate a diet to maintain their weight (this served as a control); in another, they ate a high-calorie diet; and in the third, they ate a high-calorie diet and exercised to burn off the extra calories they consumed.

The morning after the trials, researchers discovered that overeating suppressed fatty-acid oxidation, even below control levels. But exercise increased fatty-acid oxidation. Fatty acids are stored in the body and used as fuel when the body is active.

In a release, researcher Andrea Cornford from the University of Michigan said, "Exercise decreases everyone’s insulin resistance and therefore reduces the chances of developing diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. This study shows that even a single bout of exercise helps obese individuals increase their body’s fat-burning rate and improve their metabolic health."

-- Jeannine Stein

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