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December 2023
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Walking Away from Temptation

Study:  Chocoholics Reduce Cravings with 15-Minute Walk

A 15-minute walk has been shown to reduce chocolate cravings, according to study.

A 15-minute walk has been shown to reduce chocolate cravings, according to study.

“Sometimes the best way to avoid unnecessary confrontation is to walk away.”  This pearl of wisdom is often given to kids frustrated by bullying class mates.

But the same principle applies to foods that frustrate a person’s diet.

When it comes to food, all of us have weaknesses:  foods that we fall for in those moments of weakness. We all have strategies to overcome these cravings.  Typically, the average person plops on their sofa, flicks through the boob-tube, hoping an engrossing episode of Law & Order or a captivating edge-of-your-seat thriller will distract their crave-crazed brain.

But this is precisely the wrong way to go about it.  Instead of sitting, you’re much better off walking.

Writing in the journal Appetite last year, British researchers from the University of Exeter report that people who regularly consume and crave chocolate temper those cravings by walking for as little as 15 minutes.

Here’s how the study worked.  It involved 25 chocoholics, which is my way of saying that the people involved ate chocolate on a regular basis.  For this test, though, they were asked not to consume chocolate for three days—no doubt a challenge for any chocoholic.

By day three, before they indulged, they were asked to do one of two things:  take a brisk 15-minute walk, or sit on their sofa.  Every participant both walked and sat, but it was up to them in what order they did them.

According to lead researcher Dr. Adrian Taylor, 12 percent of the people walking reduced their cravings during and after their walks.  That wasn’t the case for people when they were sitting.  In fact, the chocolate cravings became more intense with each minute they sat.

Now, the results here may seem obvious.  After all, by walking away from temptation, it renders the ability to cave in to temptation obsolete.  But in this study, participants were literally tempted with chocolate both walking and sitting, for instance by a person opening a luscious candy bar right in front of their faces, teasing them with its sweet, decadent scent.

This is the first study to link a reduction in chocolate cravings with exercise.  Past studies have shown how exercise can reduce other addictive behaviors, like cigarette smoking.

“Short bouts of physical activity can help to regulate how energized and pleasant we feel, and with a sedentary lifestyle, we may turn to mood regulating behaviors like eating chocolate,” said Taylor.  “This research furthers our research of the complex physical, psychological and emotional relationship we have with food.”


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  2. Walk to Lower Blood Pressure
  3. Reduce Risk of Cancer Death with Exercise
  4. Benefits of Exercise and your Life Expectancy
  5. Study Shows Daily Exercise Can Prevent Colds

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