As soon as the New Year’s Eve ball comes down in Times Square, you’ll be bombarded with advertisements for every weight loss program and diet pill out there. The weight loss industry is counting on you to shell out big bucks to shed any excess pounds.
What the weight loss industry won’t tell you is that new research shows that the benefits of exercise can actually reprogram your brain so you won’t overeat.
New research published in Obesity Reviews shows that when we’re surrounded by food ads and high-calorie temptations, our inhibitory control caves. Inhibitory control is the brain’s ability to manage impulsive behavior.
Chronic exposure to unhealthy, high-calorie foods beats down our inhibitory control, so it’s literally not your fault that you’re craving fries, a donut, or a candy bar. But what researchers also found is that regular exercise enhances inhibitory control—reprogramming your brain to eat healthier.
But the benefits of exercise don’t end there. Physical activity makes your brain more sensitive to feelings of satiety, so you’re less likely to overeat. It also revs up your metabolism so you continue to burn calories at a faster rate for hours after you stop exercising.
Here are some easy ways to sneak in the benefits of exercise, even during the busy holiday season:
- If you have holiday guests in town, put on a pair of walking shoes and take a brisk 20-30 minute walk before everyone wakes up.
- Going holiday shopping? Park at the far end of the parking lot and take the long way around the mall. Every step counts.
- Baking holiday cookies (to give away as gifts, of course)? Take a brisk walk around your house while they’re baking.
- Enjoying a holiday special on TV? Walk in place while you watch.
Now it’s your turn: How do you sneak the benefits of exercise into your day?
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