If you think exercise is fun it will help you lose weight better

Harold Mandel's picture
Having fun exercising
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The obesity epidemic has a lot of people justifiably more concerned than ever before about their weight. Being overweight and obese can be killers. The increasing awareness of the potential for harmful side effects from many diet pills has more people than ever looking towards exercise and eating nutritious low fat, low calorie foods as the best way to help them maintain a healthy weight. New research has shown if you think fun things while you are exercising you may eat less later.

Exercising more and eating more could create a viscous cycle with no real health benefits

There have been concerns that many people who exercise more may eat more later on. This all has serious implications for the multi-billion dollar fitness and food industries and for consumers and health-care providers reported Marketing Letters. After all simply exercising more and eating more could create a viscous cycle with no real health benefits but with profits soaring for the fitness and food industries.

People consume fewer hedonic snacks when exercise is fun

Researchers decided to study the potential compensatory mechanism which exists between physical activity and food consumption. They observed that when physical activity was perceived of as being fun people thereafter eat less dessert at mealtime. People were also observed to consume fewer hedonic snacks when physical activity was perceived of as being fun.

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Consumers should be advised to make their physical activity routine fun

In an observational field study which took place during a competitive race it was found that the more fun people rated the race as being, the less likely these people were to compensate afterwards with a hedonic snack. It appears when people perceive of physical activity solely as exercise a search for reward is triggered. This is not seen when they perceive of the physical activity as being fun. Clearly therefore the fitness industry and health-care professionals should advise consumers to make certain they make their physical activity routine fun for themselves in order to avoid the need to seek unhealthy compensation.

People who believed they had been on an exercise walk ate more chocolate pudding for dessert

It is the position of the researchers if you think of your exercise as being fun or as being part of a well deserved break you’ll eat less afterward reports the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. If you instead think of your exercise as a workout you’ll eat more dessert and snacks later to reward yourself. In one study people who believed they had been on an exercise walk served and ate 35 percent more chocolate pudding for dessert than people who saw their exercise as being part of a scenic walk.

In another study people were given mid-afternoon snacks after their walk. Those people who thought they had taken an exercise walk ate 206 more calories of M&Ms. This was greater than twice as much, or 124 percent more, than those people who had been told they were on a scenic walk. Lead author Carolina Werle, professor at Grenoble Ecole de Management in France, said the people who viewed their walk as exercise were less happy and more fatigued. This helps us understand why some people who exercise have a tendency to reward themselves by overeating after they workout.

This study offers us some interesting insights on how to make exercise more healthy. People should strive to make their workout fun. Developing a mindset of fun surrounding exercise makes all the difference in the world. An upbeat feeling about exercise is likely to generate positive feelings about eating healthy food. It appears people who feel exercise is a laborious task become self-destructive by eating unhealthy food to compensate afterwards.

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