If you find working out a drag, you might want to change your strategy. There is new evidence that shows that your attitude about exercise may actually be linked to how much benefit you receive from it. A new study suggests that when you view the time you spend being active as fun, not a chore, you’re less likely to overeat afterwards.
Having Fun Makes a DifferenceAfter the walk the women were asked about their mood and how many calories they thought they had burned. The women in the “exercise” group were mostly fatigued and grumpy. At lunch, they basically cleaned their plates of the pasta, drank sugary soda ate dessert. They took in significantly more calories than the women who were told that the walk was for enjoyment. Of course, I would suggest that any time someone is served simple carbs they will over eat because simple carbs quickly turn to sugar, but let’s keep reading.
According to the researchers, people who view working out as a chore seem to feel that they’re due a reward for their efforts, while those who viewed the same activity as fun were less likely to expect a high calorie reward. But we have a brain teaser, another piece of the puzzle, that we think adds significantly to this information.
Based on our research studies of over 129,000 scans at the Amen Clinics, we have have found that when people focus on gratitude and what makes them happy, it literally changes their brain chemistry. Focusing on gratitude and happiness fires up the frontal lobes, which is the executive part of the brain. This part of the brain is responsible for judgment, forethought and impulse control. When people focus on what makes them unhappy, the overall activity in the brain drops, especially in the frontal lobes. This makes people vulnerable to impulsive decisions.
Either way, I would agree with the importance of making your workout fun. Listen to music, enjoy being outdoors if that’s where you exercise. Go to the gym with a friend who shares your “we’re going to have fun” attitude. You will make better decisions!
Otherwise, chances are you’ll slog through the workout defeat one of the main purposes of exercise, to boost the function of your frontal lobes! Then you’ll feel deserving of a tasty reward afterward and give in to your impulses, which will cancel out the calories you’ve burned and push your weight loss goal farther into the future.
Check out my fitness page for more ideas.