Distracting yourself from the thing you're desperately trying not to do—eat sweets, smoke a cigarette, check Reddit—is one of the most effective willpower boosters. And taking a walk, it turns out, is one of the best ways to distract yourself.
Photo by Nick Harris1.
The New York Times' myth-busting Health column "Really?" points out that in three different studies of craving control, subjects who took a brisk (i.e. active, but not too tiring) walk were better able to resist cravings for chocolate and cigarettes. Abstaining from cigarettes speaks for itself, but for those who were wondering, the test subjects in the chocolate study were two-bars-a-day certified chocoholics.
Maybe it's just the distracting nature of applying yourself to a walk when your lizard brain wants to do something else. Maybe it's the relaxing and body-fixing nature of the walk. In either case, try taking a walk, outside or around your office or home, the next time you feel your resolution starting to crack.
Can Taking a Walk Help Reduce Cravings? [NYTimes.com]