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November 11, 2022. Have a little patience, we’ll get to the punch line in a few paragraphs.

You’re about to gain weight.
First, a little background. If you’re at all like most Americans, your weight was at its annual low last month. And if you are like most Americans, you will now begin to gain weight until you reach your annual high in early January. Yup. It’s all that holiday eating. And the parties and office parties that lead up to the main events.

Followed by the often broken New Year resolution to do everything possible to lose that added weight. Which the more or less average among us lose most of by May. Two months to put it on; five months to take it off.

The last bit of background: this was all documented in an interesting study that tracked – day by day for the full year – the weight and Body Mass Index of thousands of users of wireless, internet-connected scales.

Unless …
Yeah, you guessed it: you exercise regularly. Consider this example of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure.

Here’s an interesting study published in the Journal of Physiology. It concluded: “Vigorous-intensity exercise counteracted most of the effects of short-term overfeeding and under-activity at the whole-body level and in adipose tissue, even in the face of a standardised energy surplus. Translation: No Weight Gain When You Overeat During the Holidays.

In the experiment, two groups of healthy runners were overfed. The control group was told to stop running. The other group continued to run, but they were overfed even more – by a quantity of calories that compensated for the calories they burned by running. So both groups had the same “energy surplus”. When all was fed and run, the control group showed increased glucose intolerance and gained weight and converted much of it to fat. The group that maintained their running habit: no changes. No weight gain. No new fat. None of the usual consequences of gobbling down too much turkey, ham, roast beef and dessert. Happy holidays indeed!

Don’t wait until New Year’s to make that resolution. Make it and keep it now. Runners, on your marks. Walkers, too – and briskly.

Do it outside or inside, but do it. Need some help overcoming the boredom of indoor exercise. Use my Treadmill Trails videos. You don’t even need a treadmill. Just walk or run in place on your living room floor.

‘Tis the season to be jolly
Although previous studies have found enhanced mood for up to an hour after exercise, this study found benefits for up to 12 hours following activity, compared to the resting group…Test subjects performed exercise at 60 percent of aerobic capacity, indicating that moderate-intensity exercise like walking or light cycling is enough to boost mood.” American College of Sports Medicine

Public Library of Science published this report, “The Relationship of Walking Intensity to Total and Cause-Specific Mortality”. Here’s the conclusion: “The risk for mortality: 1) decreases in association with walking intensity, and 2) increases substantially in association for walking pace >24 minute mile (equivalent to <400m during a six-minute walk test) even among subjects who exercise regularly.

Translation: if it takes you more than 24 minutes to walk a mile (that’s a speed of less than 2.5 mph), your exercise benefit is relatively small. If you walk faster, the benefits are significantly greater. How much faster? Doesn’t seem to matter much.

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