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Exercise can modify fat tissue in ways that improve health—even without weight loss – UM

This is good news. I knew exercise improved metabolism through its effect on muscles, but now I know it improves metabolic health by altering fat cells as well, even if you don’t lose weight

Health Secrets of a SuperAger

Exercise is one of the first strategies used to treat obesity-related health problems like Type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular disease, but scientists don’t understand exactly how it works to improve metabolic health.

To that end, University of Michigan researchers examined the effects of three months of exercise on people with obesity, and found that exercise can favorably modify abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue, the fat tissue just beneath the skin, in ways that can improve metabolic health—even without weight loss.

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on

Surprisingly, moderate and high-intensity exercise yielded the same positive changes in fat tissue composition and structure, and fat cells shrank a bit even without weight loss, said principal investigator Jeffrey Horowitz, U-M professor of kinesiology.

The findings appear in The Journal of Physiology. Co-first authors are U-M doctoral student Cheehoon Ahn and Ben Ryan, U-M postdoctoral research fellow now at the U.S. Army Research…

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