How exercise could stop you craving the finer things in life – and even wanting more money
'Natural high' associated with aerobic exercise, dampened the desire for a financial reward in the studyConfirms previous research that found a workout temporarily reduces junk food cravings
17:26 GMT, 16 October 2012
Running gave all participants a 'natural high' which dampened their desire for other rewards
Those who are never satisfied with their lot in life could find contentment by heading to the gym, say scientists.
A study found that the 'natural high' associated with aerobic exercise, dampened the need for other rewards – in this case the chance to win a cash sum.
Reward anticipation is linked with a
short spike of the chemical dopamine, but working out causes a lift in
dopamine levels that can last for a couple of hours.
The team of researchers from the University of Berlin, performed an experiment on two groups of
volunteers. The first group were sedentary, while the others were
trained endurance athletes.
They asked the volunteers to perform
30minutes of rigorous exercise on a treadmill, or the same amount of
time doing 'placebo exercise' such as stretching.
An hour later, they played a monetary
incentive delay game where they had to press buttons quickly to try and
gain or avoid losing a Euro at the time.
The researchers noted that the brain didn't respond any differently when it came to losing a Euro, according to Runner's World.
However, it blunted all the participants desire to win money – even those who were new to exercise – after the treadmill session.
The research, which was published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, follows two recent studies that found exercise dramatically alters our attitudes towards food.
The first, published in the same journal edition, asked thirty five
women to look at food pictures, both after a morning of
exercise and after a morning without exercise, to make it possible for
the scientists to measure their neural activity.
They found that
after a brisk workout, their attentional response to the images
Lead author Professor James LeCheminant, from Brigham Young University, said: 'This study provides evidence that exercise not
only affects energy output, but it also may affect how people respond to
Meanwhile a 2011 study found that an exerciser's motivation for food decreases after a 45 minute moderate-to-vigorous workout.
The study, published in Obesity Reviews, indicated that exercise may encourage people to eat healthier because of certain brain changes that affect impulsive behavior.