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Exercise Helps Keep Weight Regain at Bay

Last Updated: September 07, 2009.

Regular exercise helps stop weight regain after weight loss, according to the findings of a study in rats published in the September issue of the American Journal of Physiology -- Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.

MONDAY, Sept. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Regular exercise helps stop weight regain after weight loss, according to the findings of a study in rats published in the September issue of the American Journal of Physiology -- Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.

Paul S. MacLean, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Colorado in Denver induced obesity in obesity-prone rats with a 16-week program of high-fat diet and limited physical activity, followed by a two-week period of weight loss by limiting diet. The rats continued the diet for eight more weeks and maintained the weight loss. During this period, the rats were put on a regime of no exercise, a minimum of 15 minutes or a minimum of 30 minutes a day for six days a week.

Over the following eight weeks, during which time the rats could feed freely and continued with their exercise regime, those that exercised regularly had a lower rate of relapse and defended body weight and also had a reduced biological drive to eat, so that it came into line with energy expended, the researchers found. The exercising rats also accumulated less abdominal fat and fewer fat cells during relapse.

"The fact that regular endurance exercise after calorie-restricted weight loss has such profound effects on energy balance, fuel utilization, lipid accretion, and peripheral homeostatic signals may explain why exercise is so critical to weight regain prevention," the authors write.

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