We all know that exercise helps reduce the chance of obesity and the other complications from obesity such as high blood pressure, heart disease and type II diabetes through the mechanism of weight loss. You drop your bodyweight to a healthy level and you drop your risk of these problems.
But what's going on in the mechanism of weight loss on a cellular level which we do not know? This would actually help us understand how to lose the weight and what exactly causes the weight loss and not just exercise like a freak and try all sorts of diets.
In short, scientists have discovered from a study of mice that there is a particular hormone released during and after exercise called irisin (no scientific basis given for the name, just a name given by the scientists to represent its function similar to the Greek Goddess Iris who is the messenger goddess).
What irisin does in our body (as discovered by the scientists) is that after it's released from the muscles through various biochemical reactions, they travel into the bloodstream and into fat cells. It then signals to the regular fat cells and converts them into brown fat.
What is brown fat and why is it important? You might be thinking it's still fat in our body. Similar to the analogy of eating healthy fats such as omega-3 to help weight loss, brown fat in our body actually metabolises as it is used as an energy source to burn calories.
Hence, the take-away point here is that we now know that exercise actually affects the amount of white fat and brown fat stored in our bodies and despite the predisposition we thought we used to have of white and brown fat (it seemed like we lose most of it during our younger days aka the term baby fat), we begin to understand that we can actually alter the amount of brown fat through exercise. By doing so, we actually would be able to tap into our fat cells as an energy source and hence encourage weight loss in the right direction. This means that if we are able to increase our levels of brown fat in the body through exercise, we in turn increase our metabolism and reduce the amount of fat in our body and hence reduce the risks of the many diseases associated with obesity! (hewwwww. long sentence). Booya!
P.S. Note that the experiment was further carried out on human subjects where they found increased levels of irisin (the stuff that converts white fat cell to brown ones) through a prolonged jogging program.
Stay Strong and Keep Exercising to Get Brown Fat,
The Training Geek.