In addition to its other potential health benefits, intermittent fasting can cause hormonal changes that increase motivation to exercise. The results were described in detail in a recent study published in the Journal of Endocrinology in which researchers explain that intermittent fasting, as well as the general restriction of meals, is the "starvation hormone" ghrelin and its ability to increase the rate of Motivation for movement increases.
Humans have two hormones that play an important role in appetite and satiety: ghrelin, the "starvation hormone", and leptin, the hormone that eliminates the appetite after eating. If someone goes without food for a few hours, the amount of ghrelin in his blood increases. After eating, the levels of this hormone sink.
According to the latest study, high levels of ghrelin may increase appetite and motivation to move. This makes sense, considering that the purchase of food requires effort. Previous research has found links between ghrelin and increased endurance during exercise. In addition, many people report transient energy surges and sleep disturbances when fasting or following dieting protocols that imitate fasting.
Researchers focused on mice in this study and found that mice that only had limited access to food twice a day spent more volunteer time on the wheel than mice that had unrestricted access to food. The increased activity was noted despite the fact that both groups of mice ultimately consumed approximately the same amount of calories.
In addition, researchers found that mice that had unrestricted access to food, but also received ghrelin, voluntarily increased their walking levels "significantly". The results suggest that people who struggle with exercise motivation may increase their desire for more exercise by intermittently fasting or otherwise limiting food intake to a short period of time twice a day.