Research finds another reason why your daily run is so essential.
You likely run for a number of reasons: to boost your health, improve your mood along, build muscle and burn kilojoules to keep your weight in check. And now, there’s another reason to get up for that early morning run: fat-blasting irisin. New research from the University of Florida found that this hormone may help you keep fat off in colder months.
Your body stores excess kilojoules in fat cells, specifically “white fat” cells due to their light, almost white appearance. Brown fat cells, on the other hand, are darker due to their energy-burning compartments that release energy thought to keep the body warm. Everyone is born with this brown fat, but levels decrease with age.
Irisin is a hormone produced during exercise, and it’s thought to help turn white fat into brown fat. Historically, it’s been unclear what the role of irisin is in humans. To better understand its function, Florida researchers studied fat tissue samples taken from women who had breast reduction surgery.
The cells were kept alive while researchers exposed the white fat cells to irisin and found that the hormone gave the mature cells similar energy-burning properties found in brown fat. The researchers also observed that the hormone prevented new fat cells from forming, suggesting that irisin may help white fat cells become brown fat cells.
Previous research shows that during exercise, when muscles are working, irisin levels surge.
Here are some tips to stick to a workout routine and reap the benefits.
At the beginning of each week, plan your workouts for the days to come. Sticking to your workout schedule will boost your irisin supply.
Bring a Friend
Enlist a workout buddy to keep you accountable: studies show that accountability leads to more exercise sessions per week. (And working out with a friend is a lot more fun!)
Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and dairy, while keeping portion sizes (and thus kilojoules) in check. Cleaning up your diet will give you more energy during your workouts. Irisin appears to only have a browning effect on mature white fat cells, so not overeating will help prevent new white fat cells from forming.
-Additional reporting by Debbie Fetter