Exercise to Burn – and Block – Fat

16162511019_a4e5cae05f_bOnce upon a time, I devoted a great deal of energy to studying what I could about exercise and the specific impacts (physical, hormonal, psychological, etc.) on the body. Over time I have become less involved in rigorous research since fitness isn’t my profession. I feel that I got enough of a baseline to make reasonably informed decisions with regard to exercise and supplementation. I was therefore a little surprised to see a headline stating “[e]xercise releases a hormone that helps the body shed fat and keeps it from forming.” I’m not sure why, but I have this vague recollection that this was something we knew a long time ago. Or, maybe I just remember reading about the general benefits of exercise with regard to fitness, and not specifics on the hormone. I can’t be sure. But I am sure that I read in this article that a hormone called irisin is increased by exercise, and that this hormone specifically “helps convert calorie-storing white fat cells into brown fat cells that burn energy,” and, “also inhibits the formation of fatty tissue.”

Just a little extra science to fall back on if you weren’t sure whether it was worth your time to start exercising. It’s never too late to start, though if you haven’t done any meaningful exercise in a long time – or if you exercise irregularly or infrequently, or you are thinking of a major modification to your program – it is always a wise decision to check in with your doctor before starting a new program. (I’m not a fitness professional so I am probably not required to issue any disclaimers, but I don’t want anyone pointing back to my blog and saying I told them to do something that led to a heart attack or other injury.)

Keep in mind that exercise is most effective when combined with a diet rich in nutrients and healthy fats and low in added sugar. There are approximately a bazillion different takes on what a proper diet looks like; perhaps that will be a topic for another day. In the meantime, exercise to reduce fat!

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