Vicki Vieira-Potter, assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri, said the purpose of this study was to look at exercise independently from weight loss and to determine other metabolic benefits associated with physical activity.
"Our team aimed to tease out what effects on adipose, or fat tissue, were due to weight loss from diet, and what could be attributed to exercise," he added.
After conducting an experiment on young rats prone to obesity, the researchers found that the exercising rats were metabolically healthier than both of the sedentary groups and they developed different gut microbes than the other groups despite eating the exact same amount of food as the sedentary group with unlimited food access.
Vieira-Potter said overall the exercising rats had higher metabolic rates and were more active even when not running on their wheels and experienced shifts in their gut microbes perhaps putting them in a better position to avoid future weight gain compared to the other groups.
The study results showed exercise is an important component of overall health and is critically important in the fight against obesity, especially during the juvenile period.
The study is published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
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