Stuffing yourself with too many holiday goodies? Exercising daily might
reduce the harmful effects to your health, according to a small new study.
Previous research has shown that even a few days of consuming far more
calories than you burn can damage your health.
The new study included 26 healthy young men who were asked to overeat and who
either were inactive or exercised on a treadmill for 45 minutes a day.
Decline in blood sugar control
Daily calorie intake increased by 50% in the inactive group and by 75% in
the exercise group. That meant they had the same net daily calorie surplus,
said the researchers at the University of Bath, in England.
After just one week of overeating, all the participants had a significant
decline in blood sugar control. Not only that, their fat cells activated genes
that result in unhealthy changes to metabolism and that disrupt nutritional
These negative effects, however, were much lower in those who were doing
daily exercise, according to the study, which was published in The Journal
"Our research demonstrates that a short period of overconsumption and
reduced physical activity leads to very profound negative changes in a variety
of physiological systems," study co-author Jean-Philippe Walhin said in a
journal news release. "But a daily bout of exercise stops most of these
negative changes from taking place."
And holidays often mean people are eating more and exercising less, another
"If you are facing a period of overconsumption and inactivity, which is
probably quite common around Christmastime, then our study shows that a daily
bout of exercise will prevent many of the negative changes from taking place
even though you are gaining weight," study senior author Dylan Thompson
said in the news release.
"The effects are obvious, but the underlying causes will need further
study to be determined," he said. "The findings are likely to apply
to other groups, like older adults and women, and perhaps to lesser amounts of
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention offers holiday health and