If losing weight is as simple as taking in the correct amount of calories, and not overeating, you may wonder where exercise plays in to all of this. Well, obviously exercise can help if you overeat and need to rid yourself of the extra calories that you have taken in. But could there be more to the equation?

A recent study, which took place at Brigham Young University in Utah suggests that exercise can reduce motivation for food. The study had people working out on treadmills, walking at a 3.8 mph pace for 45 minutes. The participants (who were all female) were then shown pictures of food and their brain wave responses were recorded. The same women had their brain waves tested on non-exercise days and the responses were again recorded.

The interesting results showed that, despite the weight of the participants, the response from the brain when viewing pictures of the food was smaller on the days that exercise had taken place. When no exercise had occurred, the brain reacted more strongly to the food. They followed the participants further and kept track of the eating habits of the participants on the days of testing. Surprisingly, the participants didn’t compensate for the burned calories by eating more on the day of exercise.

BYU is planning to carry out more studies related to this issue, to see if the time of day that exercise takes place has anything to do with an increase in hunger, and also will conduct some longer studies to see if, over time, those who exercise (and it doesn’t even need to be an intense workout!) are more likely to eat more calories.

This is a very interesting study! It appears as though walking or running on a treadmill will not only burn off calories, but it won’t make you hungry to eat more than you normally would that day. So now is the time to stop putting off exercise! Just in case you needed yet another reason to get off the couch, there you have it!