For Weight Loss, Fun Beats Exercise

OK, it’s not exactly true, but it is true that people who have fun while exercising are likely to eat fewer calories when the exercise is done. Gretchen Reynolds reports in the New York Timesimages-1 on two revealing studies. In one, 56 healthy women were divided into two groups. Both groups were told to walk a one-mile course, but one was told that it was exercise, and one was told that the walk was purely for pleasure, and that they would be listening to music while they walked. After their walks, the two groups sat down to lunch. Yes, you guessed it: the group that had been told that the walk was exercise consumed far more calories from sweets than the group that had walked for pleasure. Wait, there’s more. Reynolds reports on another experiment for which researchers asked runners at a marathon finish line if they had enjoyed the race, then offered them a choice between a chocolate bar and a healthy cereal bar. “In general”, Reynolds writes, “those runners who said that their race had been difficult or unsatisfying picked the chocolate; those who said that they had fun gravitated toward the healthier choice.”

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