A Trimmer Body Isn't the Only Reason to Exercise

Our community weighs in on body image and the benefits of working out

In other areas of the iVillage Health boards this week, women discussed other more practical benefits of exercise–specifically, its ability to combat alcohol cravings.

Though this particular study examined the effects of exercise on alcohol consumption in hamsters, past research in humans has shown that even a brisk 15-minute walk can help curb the urge to snack, smoke or eat chocolate–depending on one’s vice of choice. And our community members have noticed these positive effects of exercise.

“Exercise has a general good effect on me. When I bust my butt, I don't want to blow the great feeling by eating in an unhealthy way--and I certainly would want to blow it with alcohol,” says zejayge on the Alcohol, Addictions & Recovery board.

“I feel exercise is a beneficial, non-pharmacologic treatment for many things, and this [study] just affirms it,” agrees busy_stepmom.

Personally, I can’t say whether exercise kills my cravings, since I don’t think I’ve ever chosen to work out when I felt like eating something (junk food is definitely my vice). But I do lose interest in food when I’m struggling to pedal my bike up a hill or get through the last 10 minutes on the elliptical trainer. For me, the work-out has to be challenging or engaging; otherwise, all bets are off. If I’m bored, my mind wanders to things that make my taste buds happy, like key lime pie or chocolate mousse cake.

Still, by the time I get home, I am more likely to reach for something healthy. After working so hard to burn 300 calories, why would I want to put myself back at zero? Don’t get me wrong, though–I’m definitely no saint. It just better be a darn good treat for me to waste my calories on.

What benefits have you noticed from exercise? Chime in below.

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