A single workout can activate neurons that boost metabolism for days
02/19/2019 // Ellaine Castillo // Views

A common concern that a lot of people have after an intense workout is whether they will be able to move for the next few days. If you belong to this group and think that taking a short break from your routine could destroy everything you worked hard for – don't be. A study from the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center showed that the effects of a single workout on your metabolism can last for more than just a day. This is possible due to changes in the brain's activity that were induced by exercise.

The study, which was published in the journal Molecular Metabolism, provided new insights into the role of the brain in fitness and metabolism. To arrive at this finding, the researchers measured the effects of short- and long-term exercise on two types of neurons in mice. The first of these is the pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neuron, which reduces appetite, lowers blood sugar levels, and increases energy burning when activated. The second type is the neuropeptide Y and agouti-related protein (NPY/AgRP) neuron. Unlike the former, NPY/AgRP neurons are known to increase appetite and reduce metabolism. Both types of neurons are also present in humans.

After a single workout, the researchers found that POMC neurons in mice became activated while their NPY/AgRP neurons were inhibited. These effects lasted for up to two days. However, the team also noted that more training caused these changes to last longer. Between the two types of neurons, POMC exhibited longer-term changes. Because of this, the researchers became interested in the potential implications of their findings on improving glucose metabolism in patients with diabetes, which they will be exploring in future studies.


"It doesn't take much exercise to alter the activity of these neurons," said Dr. Kevin Williams, a neuroscientist at UT Southwestern and one of the study's authors. "Based on our results, we would predict that getting out and exercising even once in a semi-intense manner can reap benefits that can last for days, in particular with respect to glucose metabolism."

More ways to boost your metabolism

You can also boost your metabolism by following these tips:

  • Increase your water intake – Instead of drinking sugary drinks like soda, go for more water. Not only does water have zero calories, but it also temporarily speeds up a person's metabolism. In one study, it was shown that half a liter of water can increase resting metabolism by up to 30 percent for about an hour. You can also optimize the calorie-burning effect of water by drinking it cold. Doing this will cause the body to use more energy in heating up the water to body temperature.
  • Drink green tea or oolong tea – These herbal teas have been shown to boost metabolism by up to five percent. Drinking green tea and oolong tea can also help you lose some weight since they help convert stored fats into free fatty acids. This can increase fat burning by 10 to 17 percent.
  • Eat more spicy foods – The chili peppers used to make spicy foods contain a compound called capsaicin that helps boost metabolism. One study showed that eating peppers helps burn an additional 10 calories per meal. (Related: The silver bullet to enhancing your metabolism, coupled with simple lifestyle habits.)
  • Get adequate sleep – Sleep deprivation is a major risk factor for obesity. It has been shown to increase the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin and decrease the fullness hormone leptin. By getting more sleep, you can help your metabolism

Read more news articles on how to stay fit by visiting Slender.news.

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