Exercise modifies brain for weight loss

Exercise modifies brain for weight loss

According to a Harvard study published for the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology when exercise is added to a weight-loss diet, treatment of obesity is more successful than adjusting diet alone, said researcher Miguel Alonso Alonso. Adding exercise to the program also helped weight loss subjects adhere to the diet for the long haul.

The study, based on data from epidemiological studies and announced November 23, found that one of the key factors in successful weight loss is a cognitive function known as inhibitory control, the ability to resist a strong inclination or temptation — like overeating -- and do what is most appropriate or needed.

According to Alonso, living in an obesogenic environment — an environment that promotes weight gain -- presents a constant barrage of stresses on these neuro-cognitive resources, leading to impaired judgement and facilitating impulses to overeat, he said.

Exercise, however, helps improve the brain’s executive functions and overcome these strains, he said.

Past studies have also shown that exercise — in the form of table tennis — helped children with developmental coordination disorder to improve their inhibitory control.

Meanwhile, according to fitness experts polled by WebMD.com, the most effective exercises for losing weight include walking, interval training, squats, lunges, push-ups, ab crunches and the bent-over row — exercises that either target multiple muscle groups, are suitable for different fitness levels or help burn calories more effectively.