Exercise helps people eat healthier
For dieters, the benefits of exercise go beyond burning calories. A review of past research by Miguel Alonso Alonso, a neurology professor at Harvard University, suggests that physical activity can help to change the way we think about food.
For example, it helps to increase an awareness of being full, making it less likely to overeat during meals. According to the study, this awareness tends to have a long term effect on how the person responds to being near food.
The research also showed that exercise creates more connections in the prefrontal part of the brain, which improves cognitive functions like the ability to surpress the urge to overeat.
In a statement released with the study, Alonso said physical activity “can help us to resist the many temptations that we are faced with every day in a society where food, especially hyper-caloric food, is more and more omnipresent. Physical exercise seems to encourage a healthy diet. In fact, when exercise is added to a weight-loss diet, treatment of obesity is more successful and the diet is adhered to in the long run.”
The study points out the importance of a public policy that actively promotes participation in exercise and sports through education, urban planning and the availability of sporting facilities.