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Vigorous Treadmill Workout Curbs Appetite Hormones

U.K. researchers say findings may lead to more effective ways to control weight

FRIDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Aerobic exercise is better than non-aerobic activities at suppressing appetite, according to a U.K. study.

The research involved 11 male university students who participated in three types of sessions. In one, they ran for 60 minutes on a treadmill and then rested for seven hours. In another, they did 90 minutes of weight lifting and then rested for 6.5 hours. In the third session, they did no exercise.

The participants received two meals during each session and also reported their hunger levels at various points during each session. The researchers measured the students' levels of two major appetite hormones: ghrelin (which stimulates appetite) and peptide YY (which suppresses appetite).

During the treadmill session (aerobic exercise), ghrelin levels dropped and peptide YY levels increased, indicating that the hormones were suppressing appetite. During the weightlifting (non-aerobic) session, ghrelin levels decreased, but there was no significant change in peptide YY levels. The appetite hormone effects of both types of exercise lasted for a few hours.

Both types of exercise suppressed hunger, but aerobic exercise resulted in greater suppression of hunger. The findings were published online in the American Journal of Physiology -- Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.

"The finding that hunger is suppressed during and immediately after vigorous treadmill running is consistent with previous studies indicating that strenuous aerobic exercise transiently suppresses appetite," senior author David J. Stensel, of Loughborough University, said in an American Physiological Society news release. "The findings suggest a similar, although slightly attenuated response, for weight-lifting exercise."

He said this line of research may lead to more effective ways to use exercise to help control weight.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about physical activity and weight control.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Physiological Society, news release, Dec. 11, 2008

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