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The Truth About Exercise and Hunger

By Rachel Carver

Regular exercise can increase your energy and help you build muscle. It can also help you burn more calories than you consume, which helps with weight loss.

Exercise -- especially intense workouts -- can also change the way your body responds to hunger cues. But how do your workouts impact your hunger? Read on to find out.

Exercise Impacts Hunger and Cravings

When you work out, blood moves away from your stomach to keep your muscles going as you exercise. This means you will likely not feel hungry during workouts. This also makes digesting food during a workout harder, which leads to advice of not overeating before you engage in serious physical activity.

Exercise also affects hunger regulation hormones. Published research in the American Journal of Physiology found that a 60-minute run can decrease appetite hormones while increasing appetite suppression hormones. A 90-minute strength training session did not decrease the appetite suppression hormone, which suggests the type of exercise performed can make a difference.

The temperature of your exercise environment may also affect hunger. If you run outdoors in the heat, chances are you will not feel hungry at the end. You will just be hot and thirsty.

You also might not feel hungry after you finish your workout. This can depend on the duration and intensity of the exercise.

Shorter or easier workouts can also suppress your hunger. However, it is more likely to happen during long, intense workouts. Short and less intense workouts may not affect your hormones and blood sugar in the same way.

Refuel After You Exercise

Whether you are trying to lose weight or improve performance, eating something after your workout is important. You need protein to help your muscles recover. You need to replenish glycogen stores with carbohydrates. Your body uses glycogen as fuel for intense exercise. Skipping food after your workout can cause you to struggle through the same routine the next day.

Eating after a workout is important. Here are some tips to make sure you stay healthy as you accomplish your goals.

Not feeling hungry - If your long workout suppressed your appetite, fuel up with a protein shake. This will give you calories and needed protein.

Choosing your exercises for weight loss - Don't pick a workout based only on how it suppresses your appetite. You need cardio and strength training since they offer different benefits. Relying on only cardio to suppress your appetite for weight loss will not give you lasting results.

Eat when you are hungry - Fueling up after your workout will keep your hunger in check, making you less likely to make poor food choices later.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in College Station, Tex.

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