Another Reason to Exercise

Another Reason to Exercise

 

There is a study for everything these days. Almost any topic you can think of will have some kind of study proving it or disproving it.  And some of those studies seem like a complete waste of money or a complete no-brainer. For example “Eating at restaurants boosts risk of weight gain”, well duh. “Drinking alcohol leads to drunkenness”, double duh.  And just one more for good measure “Women prefer dating thin, hot, rich men to fat, ugly, poor ones”.

Luckily, there are actually some good studies out there too.  I don’t write as often about specific studies, but I found this one very encouraging. Science rocks!

The study explains that exercise may encourage healthy eating. Okay, I know some of you are thinking duh, but the reason it inspires healthy eating may not be what you think.

Exercise can actually change the parts of the brain that influence impulsive behavior.  With fast food on every corner, baked goods in the office break room on a weekly basis, eating out more often due to busy lives, we are surrounded by temptations and triggers that make it easy to over-eat.  The researchers state that the part of the brain responsible for “control” undergoes “relentless strain”.  Amen to that!

The study indicates that there is evidence that regular physical exercise changes the structure of the brain and how it works by increasing the connections in the grey matter and prefrontal cortex.  One result of these increased connections is improved inhibitory control. It keeps us in check on impulsive, excessive, or inappropriate behavior, like eating a jar of frosting for breakfast, perhaps.

By actually changing parts of the brain that influence impulsive behavior, increased physical activity may help compensate and suppress those feelings that drive us to over-eat.

With regular exercise, our brains learn to more easily resist the many temptations that we are faced with every day, especially where supersized calorie food is everywhere.  

Exercise also brings other benefits, such as making the brain more sensitive to physiological signs of fullness, which helps to control appetite.

Do studies make things absolutely true? Not necessarily, but there are a bazillion benefits to exercise, and if you need a bazillion and one to get moving, here you go! Please exercise.

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