Are You Optimizing The Way You Exercise?

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 Difference
After 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.

 

Related Blogs

4 Ways to Cope With Seasonal Affective Disorder
As the clocks fall back, darkness descends on us earlier, temperatures drop, and the year’s...
7 Worst Foods for Your Memory
If you find yourself struggling to recall a word, forgetting where you placed your keys,...
3 Easy Ways to Teach Your Family Gratitude This Thanksgiving Season
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, ’tis the season for reflecting on all we have...
How to Prevent Diabetes and Its Brain-Damaging Effects
November is National Diabetes Month, highlighting a disease that hits close to home for too...
What to Do When the World Is Trying to Poison Your Children with Unhealthy Foods
My husband, Daniel, and I recently received a question from a new team member on...
Trauma Denial: Is It Holding You Back From Healing?
We know that trauma can create all kinds of havoc in the body—making us more...
Fatigue: Are You Tired of Feeling Exhausted?
If you’re struggling to find the energy for everyday tasks—like going to work, parenting, or...
5 Healthiest Fall Vegetables for Your Brain and Mood
As the air cools and the days get shorter, it’s natural to reach for heartier...
Don’t Forget the Brain in the Battle Against Domestic Violence
Every year, October ushers in Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time for us to reflect...