PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 News) - If you are somebody who has a hard time getting motivated to hit the gym a new Brigham Young University study might give you an extra boost. It finds a little exercise can kill your worst cravings.
"I’m trying to lose weight so I'm doing a lot of cardio right now,” said Dara Lee Evans, who works out at Crossroads Fitness in Sandy. That cardio may be doing even more for Evans’ weight loss plans than she realizes.
The research finds exercise of any kind is not only good for the body, but can actually help curb cravings.
"For me and out research team, we're very excited about this,” said James LeCheminant, a member of the BYU research team behind the study.
LeCheminant and his team measured the brain activity of 35 women while they viewed images of food-- once after they worked out and once without working out.
"That's what we want to see is, what extent does exercise influence food motivation?” said LeCheminant.
The team found after 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise, the women produced lower brain responses to the food images.
"Yeah I'd believe it,” said Greg Mildenhall, an avid exerciser. "I'm not super hungry after I work out."
"I'm not usually as hungry and since working out,” said Evans. “I've been eating a lot less as well."
Researchers also found not only were participants less motivated by food after a workout, but they also didn't eat more to make up for extra burned calories.
“That's the whole reason I’m working out so I can get rid of my cravings,” said Yahvel Murphy, who just started a new exercise routine.
So next time you feel those hunger pangs, the best bet may be to hit the gym.
"Continue to exercise,” said LeCheminant. “Get 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity and it might influence eating behavior.”
Researchers tested both obese and normal weight subjects and found obesity did not alter the findings. The study will be published in the October issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.