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Aerobic Exercise May Help Your Brain…And Make You Fat?

For as long as I can remember, we’ve been told that 20-30 minutes of exercise per day was good for our bodies.  It would help us lose weight, improve fitness and strength, reduce other health risks, etc. Now we hear that aerobic exercise may also help keep our brains sharp.

A study from Columbia University in New York City followed a group of adults that worked out at least four times a week. The research indicates that “regular cardiovascular workouts can prevent or delay the appearance of an age-related decline in cognitive functions.” OK.  Sounds good.  But what about that “make you fat” part?

A lot of people who begin regular workouts see a slight weight gain at the start because they are increasing muscle mass, which is a good thing. But have you noticed that exercising can make you hungry? And if you act on those cravings, you may eat even more food than usual, which obviously goes against the weight-loss “benefits” of exercise.

There’s another reason why we might gain weight after a workout. A study by Loughborough University in London said that after a a session at the gym some people overindulge because they feel they “deserve it”. I can certainly relate to that.  I’m definitely not a “gym” person, but after mowing lawn or other strenuous activity on a warm summer day, I often like to “reward”myself with a nice, cold beer…or two.

Overall, it sounds to me like exercise is like a lot of other things in our lives.  It’s good for us…in moderation!


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