Thinking of Taking a Break From Exercising This Holiday Season? Not so Fast!
I realize that when we’re away at some family gathering or simply at home enjoying the holidays, exercise is probably going to be the last thing on your mind. We believe it’s our time to relax and by lazy for about a week. So, we’ll eat a huge holiday meal and introduce a lot more calories than normal into our bodies. It’s hard to get away from overeating, especially around our family members. It’s even worse when a lot of emotions come back from childhood holiday magic and the smell of delicious foods. So we will partake in each morsel of fun. And we’ll tell ourselves that we just don’t have time to train.
Not exercising for a few days may seem harmless enough. Yet, our bodies will create what is known as an “energy surplus” according to a study by Dr. Walhin and others of the University of Bath, England, released back in October 2013. This simply means we get fatter. Yes, white fat is where we store our energy. And this excess fat leads to whole host of ailments throughout our body due in part to the inflammatory molecules released. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease are two of them.
The study looked at 26 healthy young men and had half of them eat more than normal (50% more) and restricted their exercise activity to what equated to less than 4,000 steps per day for 7 days. The other half exercised at a moderately intense pace during the same week period.
After the week was concluded, the scientists discovered that the overeating combined with no exercise, led to a change in gene expression. That included the genes that were overexpressed leading to a metabolic slowdown and the genes that contribute to healthier functioning being underexpressed. This simply means that just 7 days can alter the way your body functions, changing it becoming more unhealthy.
The group that did exercise at least once a day, did not suffer from the same consequences as the other group.
Out metabolic rate is controlled by multiple sources, from diet and exercise to how we sleep and our mindset. We need to be vigilant in all areas in order to maintain or improve our health, lose excess fat and stay fit.
If you’re at home or visiting relatives across the country, find at least 30 minutes a day to get in vigorous exercise. The less time you have, the more intense the exercise should be. You can also divide up your time throughout the day. I would suggest that you sit less and move more. If you can, get everyone out of the house, except when food is being prepared, and talk a vigorous walk for a mile or two. Do this each day.
It’s important not to slack off from exercising. We are not meant to sit all day long, even on vacation or otherwise.
I wish you a happy holiday season, one full of fitness fun! Cheers,
Cheers, Bob Choat
Walhin, JP, Richardson, JD, Betts, JA and Thompson, D (2013). Exercise counteracts the effects of short-term overfeeding and reduced physical activity independent of energy imbalance in healthy young men. The Journal of Physiology;591(Pt 24):6231-43