Research conducted at Appalachian State University showed 190 calories were burned in 14 hours after a vigorous workout riding a stationary bike for 45 minutes. Yes, that’s right – 190 calories were burned after the exercise was finished, in addition to all those consumed during the workout. The research subjects who worked out vigorously burned about 519 calories during the biking, and with the extra post-workout calories the total was 709.
To cause the post-workout calorie burn, the exercise must be vigorous enough to cause sweating, a fast heart rate (but not too fast) and an elevated body temperature. They also found moderate-level exercise does not have the same post-work calorie burning effect. So walking a comfortable pace for 20-30 minutes is a healthy activity, but it doesn’t burn calories after it is over, like vigorous exercise does. To turn a comfortable walk into vigorous exercise one would need to quicken the pace, include stair walking or even add a backpack with a load of fifteen pounds, or whatever it takes to cause sweating, a significant heart rate increase and the body temperate increase.
The research is good news both for people already doing vigorous exercise, and for those who need an incentive to do more. In our sedentary culture with a surplus of foods in grocery stores, convenience shops and restaurants, vigorous exercise is needed to maintain our physical and mental health. Modern affluent societies are suffering from obesity, diabetes, heart disease and depression, and vigorous exercise helps with all these conditions. It is also free, and has no side effects like medications do.
One way some people motivate themselves to exercise is to give themselves a food treat after the workout, but this behavior defeats the purpose of the activity. After vigorous exercise you can reap more benefit by simply abstaining from any extra food and waiting until the next regular meal. As one of the researchers said, “This shows that intense exercise can have a meaningful impact on your body fat stores if you don’t counter it with an extra piece of cake.” (Source: USAToday.com)
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