You all know that doing exercise is good for you. Now it turns out that your bodies continue to work out long after you have stopped exercising. Anyone undertaking a vigorous fitness session continues to burn calories for hours after finishing the workout
Men who exercised on a stationary bike for around 45 minutes burned an additional 190 calories over the 14 hours afterwards, the study found.
The same theory should apply to any intense activity, be it football, swimming or running, researchers say – and for the fairer sex. However, to get the extra calorie-burning benefits, the workout needs to be enough that ‘you’re sweating, your body temperature is up and your heart beats fast’.
Ten volunteers, aged 22 to 33, each burned an average of 519 calories during their biking tests. However, they burned another 190 calories afterwards – meaning their bodies carried on working, when physical activity ceased.
Researcher David Nieman, of Appalachian State University in Kannapolis, North Carolina, U.S. said: ‘That means a person would lose one pound after five intense exercise bouts if they resisted the temptation to eat more.
‘This shows that intense exercise can have a meaningful impact on your body fat stores if you don’t counter it with an extra piece of cake. I hope this will motivate people to get out there to do sweat-producing activities. You get so much bang for your buck.’
Mr Nieman added that although only men were used as test subjects, there is ‘every reason to believe that the findings apply to women, too’.
The researchers used a metabolic chamber for the study, which is a silicone-sealed room with a bed, sofa and sink. Food was sent in through an air-locked entrance. This allowed scientists to measure how much oxygen a volunteer consumed and how much carbon dioxide was produced, before calculating the number of calories burned.
Each of the men was given a rest day in the chamber and did little physical activity for 24 hours, bar stretching every two hours for two minutes. They then spent a second day in the room doing exactly the same despite cycling vigorously for 45 minutes at 11 A.M.
Measurements were taken immediately afterwards and again at 1 A.M. the following morning. Other research has looked at the number of calories burned during exercise, but this is the first study to identify that it happens afterwards as well.