A study conducted by The American Physiological Society has raised interesting questions about why some people seem to be born to move while others prefer to hibernate like sleeping bears. Apparently, being a couch potato may be hard-wired into the brain, according to the researchers’ findings, which were published on the society’s website (www.the-aps.org/press/journal.06/19.htm) last summer.
The study found that the brains of rats bred to be lean are more sensitive to a chemical produced in the brain called orexin A, which stimulates appetite and spontaneous physical motion, such as fidgeting and other unconscious movements. Compared to rats bred to be obese, the lean rats had a far greater number of orexin receptors in their brains. According to the study authors, “The results point to a biological basis for being a couch potato.”
These findings suggest that minor daily movements, like fidgeting, actually help burn calories and control weight. The study’s conclusions could lead to the development of new drugs to stimulate minor activity in people trying to lose or maintain weight, the researchers went on to say.