Fitness and health exercise seems to favorably modify short-term appetite control.1 Exercise will be most beneficial for weight control if carried out in combination with a balanced low calorie diet or with judicious control of eating, avoiding a desire for self-reward after exercise. The beneficial outcome of fitness and health exercise on regulation of appetite and diet can contribute in the prevention of weight regain in obese individuals.
Although the mechanisms whereby exercise improves short-term appetite remain unknown, the satiety hormones (chemical messengers that initiate a feeling of fullness after taking food) are likely to be involved. Intense exercise was found to increase the level of hunger-controlling factors after eating food, thereby suggesting that exercise can set off physiological changes in satiety hormone secretion, which help in control of appetite and weight maintenance.1
A six-week moderate exercise program (four times per week) on appetite regulation in healthy, sedentary individuals supports the findings that exercise for fitness and health has a significant impact on short-term appetite control by increasing the sensitivity of eating behavior.2 A recent study indicates that the timing of exercise to meal consumption may influence appetite and its hormonal regulators. Exercise performed two hours after meal is consumed seems to further extend the appetite-suppressing effect of food intake.3
This information should be a wake-up call, especially to obese people. Exercise for health and fitness can reduce the body’s desire for food and is a great adjunct to a healthy diet.
- Martins C, Robertson MD, Morgan LM. Effects of Exercise and Restrained Eating Behavior on Appetite Control. Proc Nutr Soc. 2008; 67(1): 28–41.
- Martins C, Truby H, Morgan LM. Short-term Appetite Control in Response to a 6-week Exercise Program in Sedentary Volunteers. Br J Nutr. 2007; 98(4): 834–842.
- Cheng MH, Bushnell D, Cannon DT, Kern M. Appetite Regulation Via Exercise Prior or Subsequent to High-fat Meal Consumption. Appetite. 2009; 52(1): 193–198.