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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Workout climate may have impact on appetite

Joe Marchilena

You did your best last week to not go overboard on the holiday meals and sweets, but you just couldn’t stay away.

It’s OK, it happens, you know that, but now you plan to get a head start on working it off, and this unseasonable weather we’ve been having lately is making you think an outdoor
workout is a good idea. ...

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You did your best last week to not go overboard on the holiday meals and sweets, but you just couldn’t stay away.

It’s OK, it happens, you know that, but now you plan to get a head start on working it off, and this unseasonable weather we’ve been having lately is making you think an outdoor
workout is a good idea.

Not so fast. That might not be as good of an idea as you think.

According to a recent study done in the United Kingdom, working out in cooler temperatures might increase your post-exercise appetite to the point that it’s detrimental to your weight-loss efforts. While the thermometer has been approaching 50 the last two days, it’s a safe bet that your gym, or preferred place of exercise, is a lot warmer.

The study was a joint effort by England’s University of Birmingham and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

In order to find out if ambient temperature affected appetite and eating habits after a workout, researchers gathered a group of overweight men and women, and had them walk on a treadmill.

First, the group walked at a moderate pace for 45 minutes in a room that was set at 68 degrees. Then, they had the group repeat everything – pace, time, clothing – and dropped the temperature down to 46 degrees. The humidity in the room was set at 40 percent both times.

After the group was done walking, researchers had each person sit for 45 minutes as blood was drawn to check for appetite hormones. Everyone was then told to chow down on a buffet, and unknown to the subjects, their portions and selections were being monitored.

According to the study, almost everyone in the group consumed a significant increase of calories – mainly carbs – after they’d been walking in the cold, but hadn’t burned more calories than when they had walked in the warmer room. Many of the people in the group showed signs of a higher level of ghrelin, a hormone that can spark hunger, after walking in the cold.

The really surprising part of the study showed that most of the people in the group had burned more calories during the cold session, rather than during the hot. The researchers thought that exercising in warmer temperatures might make the body work harder because it is trying to spread out a buildup of internal warmth.

So you might want to leave the warm workout clothes in the closet and head into the warm confines of your gym.

Joe Marchilena writes a weekly fitness
column for Hampshire Hills. To find out
more information about the “90 Day
Commit to Get Fit” program, call 673-7123
or email hhinfo@hampshirehills.com.