Reduce Stress-Induced Junk Food Cravings With A 15-Minute Walk

When you’re stressed out, junk food starts to look even more tempting than usual. A recent study found that going for a quick walk as soon as those cravings hit can help you keep things under control, even if the treats are right in front of you.

Photo by Becky

The study, led by Larissa Ledochowski of the University of Innsbruck in Austria and Adrian H. Taylor of Plymouth University in the UK, and published in the journal PLOS ONE, suggests that a little basic exercise can drastically reduce the chances you’ll reach for a chocolate bar. The study’s participants — all identified as overweight individuals — engaged in stressful activity after a three-day abstinence from sugary snacks. Half of them were asked to go for a brisk, 15-minute walk before engaging in the stressful activities. The other half did no such activity, and then both groups were asked to handle some unwrapped, sugary snacks and try to resist them.

Ledochowski and Taylor’s results suggested that individuals who engaged in the walk beforehand were far less likely to indulge in the junk food. If you’re feeling stressed and the allure of sweet treats is getting too strong, a walk might help you out. You’re taking your mind off of the snacks, alleviating and preventing stress with a little exercise, and a walk is always good for you anyway.

Acute Effects of Brisk Walking on Sugary Snack Cravings in Overweight People, Affect and Responses to a Manipulated Stress Situation and to a Sugary Snack Cue: A Crossover Study [the journal PLOS ONE via Pacific Standard]

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