A single workout session can activate your metabolism for days

A fascinating study from scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center could provide some motivation to get moving, even just occasionally. The research has revealed that a single workout can positively affect the activity of neurons in the brain that influence metabolism for up to two days.

The research focused on a subset of neurons in the brain referred to as the melanocortin brain circuit.  There are two types of neurons play a role in the release of melanocortins, a hormone that help regulate the body’s food intake — POMC neurons and AgRP neurons.

To evaluate how exercise affects activity in those two types of neurons, the study measured brain activity in animal model under varieties of physical activity. The findings revealed that a single 60-minute treadmill workout triggered changes in the animals’ melanocortin neurons that lasted up to two days.

Specifically, after a single exercise session, POMC neurons displayed increased activity, resulting in reduced appetite and lowered blood glucose levels; on the other hand, activity in AgRP neurons displayed decreased activity. Prior research has found that overactive AgRP neurons can lower metabolism and increase appetite.  The net result is that two types of neurons works in concert to increase metabolism, reduce appetite and lower blood glucose levels.

UT researchers further noted that it doesn’t take much exercise to alter the activity of these neurons. Based on the study results, researchers predicted that getting out and exercising even once in a semi-intense manner can result in benefits that can last for days, in particular with respect to glucose metabolism.

Feel like moving now?  Get out, get moving and stay healthy.

Thanks for reading.

Journal Reference: He Z. et al. Cellular and synaptic reorganization of arcuate NPY/AgRP and POMC neurons after exercise, Molecular MetabolismVolume 18, December 2018, Pages 107-119; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molmet.2018.08.011