Everyone knows that when a craving for Chinese takeout or candy strikes, it can be near impossible to overcome. But according to a new study, the solution to this universal problem may be as simple as lacing up your running shoes. Recently published research published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise revealed that short bursts of challenging exercise, better known as HIIT (high intensity interval training), could nix the craving-fueled hunger that often ensues after a brain-numbing day at the office.
For the study, researchers gathered 38 healthy male and female college students, treated them to a pizza lunch, and tracked how many calories each person ate. On a different day, the participants all completed a 20-minute reading and math comprehension assignment. Afterward, one group rested for 15 minutes while the other group did a treadmill-based HIIT workout. The groups then gathered to enjoy some pizza while the researchers tracked their consumption. Interestingly enough, the group that participated in the workout consumed 100 calories less than the group that rested.
“Mental work utilizes the brain’s energy resources, and the brain then signals that it needs additional energy,” explains study researcher, William Neumeier, Ph.D. “If food is available, the brain will use it to replenish energy.” Though researchers aren’t quite sure how, it’s evident that a short, challenging workout can counteract this overwhelming desire to overeat.
Though exercising after work or school might not be the top priority on your to-do list, remember that regularly indulging in a late night cheat meals won’t help you reach your weight loss goal. Although additional research is needed to determine exactly which type of HIIT workouts best dull a ravenous appetite, squeezing in some type of quick exercise session before sitting down to dinner is a smart move. No matter what you do, it will likely help you tame your cravings and keep some calories off your fork.
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