Is there an afterburn effect from a workout? The New York Times reports that a recent paper in the Journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise says that, yes, you do get a good return on vigorous exercise.
The study was small, on just 10 men who spent two periods of 24 hours each in a specially designed metabolic chamber, but it showed amazing results. During one period they did nothing but eat two meals. During the second period they did nothing, with the exception of riding a stationary bike at high intensity for 45 minutes.
The exercise itself burned about 420 calories, but over the next 14 hours, the men burned an extra 190 calories. The New York Times reported:
"We were surprised," the study author said. "She thought there might be extra calories burned, but she did not expect so many, nor did she expect the effect to last so long."
Very vigorous, high-intensity exercise is also the type that can help your body increase production of human growth hormone (HGH). HGH is naturally produced by your body in sufficient quantities until you reach the age of 21. After this, production starts to drop.
HGH is the master hormone controlling growth. It helps build muscles, bones, organs and the basic links between the cells. Lower levels of HGH also make it more difficult to lose weight -- HGH increases your metabolism, which helps to burn more fat.
According to Fitness Health Zone:
"Thus a person loses weight but not their body muscle. It also helps to increase the levels of HDL the good cholesterol, thus reducing cardiovascular risks too."