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Clear boost for metabolism from exercise

Wednesday April 1st, 2020

Exercise appears to have an even more beneficial effect on the metabolism than previously thought, according to an Australian study.

The findings are timely as much of the world is on lock-down and unusually inactive because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A team led by Dr John O’Sullivan of the University of Sydney, Australia, looked at the potential benefit while taking into account a wide range of other risk factors. These included age, sex, weight, baseline fitness, diet, sleep patterns, type of job, alcohol intake, and smoking.

As part of the study on 52 soldiers, levels of about 200 metabolites were measured in blood samples, to show how metabolic health changed in response to exercise. All participants were healthy, male, of similar age and baseline fitness, and lived on the same premises with the same sleep patterns and food.

Samples were taken before and after undertaking an 80 day aerobic and strength exercise programme. This showed “dramatic changes” in many metabolites, for example, muscle used more fuel after the programme, and changes were seen in blood clotting, the breakdown products of protein, and blood flow within vessels.

Details appear in today’s (1 April) Cardiovascular Research Dr O’Sullivan says: “Our motivation for this study was to overcome this limitation by studying exercise under controlled conditions, thereby revealing the true extent of effects on the body. These results show that metabolic adaptation to exercise is far more profound than previously reported.

“The results increase our knowledge of the widespread benefits of exercise on metabolism and reveal for the first time the true magnitude of these effects.

"This reinforces the mandate for exercise as a critical part of programmes to prevent cardiovascular disease.

”Our findings cement the central role of exercise in preventing cardiovascular disease.”

Koay, Y. C. et al. Effect of chronic exercise in healthy young male adults: a metabolomic analysis. Cardiovascular Research 1 April 2020; doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvaa051

Tags: Australia | Fitness | General Health

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