Just take a walk!
Can Taking a Walk Help Reduce Cravings? [NYTimes.com]
Do your New Year’s resolutions tend to fizzle like a glass of chilled Champagne?
If your goal is to break a bad habit or cut back on food and shed a few pounds, then a simple but overlooked trick could come in handy: go for a walk. As far as weight-loss strategies go, it is not the most glamorous, but studies have found that a brisk walk around the block can significantly dampen cravings, whether the urge for junk food or the desire to light up a cigarette.
In a 2008 study, researchers recruited a group of “regular chocolate eaters” — people who ate at least two chocolate bars a day — and had them abstain for three days. They then divided them into groups, put them to work on difficult cognitive tests to raise their stress levels, and tempted them with unwrapped chocolate bars.
The researchers found that if the subjects walked for 15 minutes on a treadmill at a pace that was brisk but not tiring, they were far less likely to suffer cravings, and even showed lower blood pressure when handling the chocolate bars.
In other studies, scientists looked at the effects of brief walks on cigarette cravings. One in 2005 found that smokers who were told to abstain for a day had rapid reductions in the urge to smoke when they took “self-paced, low-intensity” walks lasting about 15 minutes.
Another study in 2007 showed that brief walks not only beat back cravings, but also reduced withdrawal symptoms and increased the time between cigarettes smoked.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Studies show that a brisk walk can ease cravings and help break some habits.
Photo by Nick Harris1.