London, Oct 27 : It's not only while running that athletes burn up energy, for a new study has revealed that runners burn more energy while resting.
The new study led by Yale University researchers showed that long distance runners burn calories even when they are not exercising.
Long-distance running increases the number of mitochondria, cells 'powerhouse' that convert sugars and fats into ATP molecules, the energy carriers.
This boosts the capacity of muscles to consume oxygen and work at higher power during exercise, reports New Scientist magazine.
The research team led by Douglas Befroy from Yale University have found that mitochondria in the muscles of men who run at least four hours a week consume 54 per cent more fuel at rest than those of men who don't run.
However, the amount of ATP produced by both the groups was same, indicating that when at rest the extra fuel was being "wasted", and turned into heat.
Since mitochondrial fuel burning helps clear out the cellular fats, believed to be a major contributing factor to insulin resistance, the researchers believe that training can help to protect against type 2 diabetes even when exercise is over.
The study has been published in proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.