A new study has shown a daily bout of exercise will stave off most of the negative effects of over-eating and inactivity.

Even if you consume significantly more calories than you burn off this festive season, exercising daily for even a short amount of time will ward off most of the negative effects of over-eating and inactivity say scientists at the University of Bath. While earlier studies have found that just a few days of eating too much and exercising too little could have long-term negative impacts on the body, a new study in the Journal of Physiology shows that daily exercise will counter many of these effects. 

“If you are facing a period of overconsumption and inactivity this Christmas, then our study shows that a daily bout of exercise will prevent many of the negative changes in the way in which your body handles sugar, even if you do still gain weight,” says Dr Dylan Thompson, senior author on the paper.

The study compared blood insulin and fat tissue biopsies of two groups after a week of overeating – the non-exercising group showed an unhealthy decline in blood sugar control and genes within fat cells relating to metabolism changed negatively, while the exercising group had stable blood sugar levels.

“Short term overfeeding and reduced physical activity had a dramatic impact on the overall metabolic health of the participants and on various key genes within fat tissue,” says Dr Jean-Philippe Walhin. “However, even though energy was still being stored, regular exercise prevented many of the long-term negative changes from taking place.”

“A critical feature of our experiment is that we matched the energy surplus between groups, so the exercising group consumed even more energy and were still better off at the end of the week,” says Dr Thompson. This means that even with the Christmas binge, keeping that morning run routine will help your health.

“This new research shows that the picture is more sophisticated than ‘energy’ alone,” adds researcher Dr James Betts. “Exercise has positive effects even when we are actively storing energy and gaining weight.”

So keep up your exercise regime this silly season – even if your eating habits degenerate it will help ward off long-term health issues and keep you on track for those New Year’s resolutions!

What’s your plan for exercising over the festive season? Will your routine change or stay the same? Let us know!