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Exercise can both increase and decrease your appetite. Today Health reports that the frequency of exercise performance and its intensity level play a major role on the effect it has on appetite. Research studies have shown that aerobic exercise, such as running, can have a greater effect on the suppression of appetite during exercise and immediately afterwards than an anaerobic activity, such as weightlifting, according to Science Daily. Performing intense aerobic exercises can affect the appetite hormones in the body.
Aerobic Exercise and Appetite
According to a Loughborough University's medical study in the UK, jogging for an hour on a treadmill affects two of the body's appetite hormones - gherlin and peptide YY. The treadmill workout caused gherlin levels to decrease and peptide YY levels to increase in eleven male participants - a sign that appetite was suppressed. The study's author, David Stensel, Ph.D., believes part of the reason why appetite is suppressed is due to the body's need to circulate more blood to prevent overheating. Approximately one to two hours after exercising, there's a tendency for appetite to increase due to the body's need to replenish the energy it has lost. The effect is more pronounced in women, since exercise may also raise their longer-term appetite stimulating hormones leptin and insulin.
Anaerobic Exercise and Appetite
An anaerobic exercise, such as weightlifting, can also have an effect on appetite. The same UK study asked eleven male participants to engage in 90 minutes of weightlifting. The results - gherlin levels decreased, an indication of appetite suppression, but peptide YY levels did not vary by much. This is an indication that anaerobic exercise can also suppress appetite but not as much as intense aerobic exercise. (ref. 1, 2)
Frequency of Exercise
Engaging in frequent exercise not only helps you to lose extra pounds or maintain your ideal weight, Professor Neil King, Ph.D., states it also restores sensitivity to the brain cells that control satiety, or the body's feeling of fullness that causes you to stop eating. This is important for people who have high-fat diets: "Men's Fitness" magazine reports that some research shows that excessive fat in a diet can disturb the brain's signals for satiety, which can lead to over-eating and obesity. Another issue associated with frequent exercise -- some people overestimate the amount of calories burned after a workout and like to indulge in less healthy foods that end up replacing the calories burned.
Healthy Vs. Obese Individuals
A person's health status can also play a role in whether exercise increases or decreases appetite. For example, researchers in California Polytechnic State University found that young and healthy individuals who exercised vigorously after one hour showed less interest in food. Obese individuals showed varied results: 59 percent lost weight and showed less interest in food, the remaining 41 percent lost less weight than the first group and showed more interest in food after exercising.