Exercise for Satiety

It’s a new year. I’m planning my office. And, recognizing that sitting is the new smoking–a recent study showed that as many as 1 in 10 deaths are secondary to prolonged inactivity–it is time to get serious about exercise again. In planning my office, I’m considering getting a treadmill with a work desk attached to it. Have you seen these? It would take up enough space so as to make it hard to not get on it throughout the day. For example, this one. I also just ordered a pair of Fitbits. You have probably heard about these little electronic pedometers that sync with your smart phone and track your numbers, e.g., steps, miles, calories burned, etc. I’m excited to try out the gamification that comes with them. You can set up a network of friends and compete. Being a naturally competitive person, with a wife that works out most days, that should be good for me (to have to live up to her standards). And I’m excited to extend this network to other friends and patients. A challenge (first, I have to see if I can avoid embarrassment being compared to Amy).

A blog post in the NY Times this past week discussed the effect of exercise on appetite. Most people recognize that exercise is not, in itself, a good way to lose weight. In fact, sometimes it causes you to gain weight. Appetite causes a spike in ghrelin levels, a hormone that stimulates hunger. And if you give in to this, you can easily defeat your exercise. Classic scenario, you set the alarm, wake up early, go out for a run. On the way home, proud that you displayed such disclipine, you stop at the Flake on the way home, and get a single donut and a cup of coffee, and ingest more calories than you just burned!

The post summed up two recent research studies, however, that showed that, with time, certain types of exercise increases the levels of other hormones, the as yet not well understood satiety hormones that mute the effect of ghrelin. In short, persistent, moderate exercise (the equivalence of a brief, brisk jog), showed a suppression in their appetite, whereas those that only walked did not suppress their appetites.

The post quoted the researcher: Exercise “improves the body’s ability to judge the amount of calories consumed and to adjust for that afterward.”

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