Mindful Monday | Want success? Start with exercise first

The idea of a “lifestyle” overhaul can be intimidating. Getting healthier includes so many variables such as healthy

eating, exercise, better sleep and reduced stress. A recent study suggests that developing an exercise routine first results in a preference for healthier foods.

A study published by the International Journal of Obesity, concluded that starting an exercise routine often leads to healthier food choices. Instead of taking something away, you can add a physical activity. The researchers recruited 2500 college students who said they did not diet or exercise for more than 30 minutes a week. They were asked not to change their eating habits.

However, many of the exercise participants  changed their eating habits without being told to. The 2000 who stuck with the exercise plan, were more likely to eat more nutritious foods and less “junk” food. The more a participant exercised, the more their diet improved.

“Longer exercise duration was associated with a decrease in preference for foods characteristic of the standard western diet, such as red meat, fried foods and snack foods. Meanwhile, high-intensity exercise was associated with an increase in preference for healthy foods. Overall, Bray says, this means “compliance with the exercise program was associated with a move toward eating healthier overall.”

The diet didn’t delve deeper into why exercise fuels healthy eating, but likely biology and psychology are responsible.

However, scientists believe there is something more “I really do think exercise is altering neural processing in your brain. The stimulation of your brain that occurs with high-intensity exercise is what changes lots of things about your body,” Bray says.

To learn more: Exercising Might Help You Make Healthier Food Choices, Study Says – Time

To get started, see our Exercise Resource Page

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