Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Case Western Reserve University recently found exercise makes people more likely to crave dessert later on.
The researchers recruited 88 college students for a test called the “approach avoidance task”. It’s been used in past research to measure automatic reactions to certain stimuli. The volunteers held a joystick as they looked at pictures of dessert foods interspersed with shots of everyday household objects.
For each image, the researchers monitored their hand movements, noting if they pulled the joystick closer to their bodies (indicating positive feelings toward whatever was in the photo). Half the participants then did a quick workout on a stationary bike, while the other half completed a series of memory puzzles; afterward, all of them took the same joystick test for a second time.
The members of the exercise group were more attracted to dessert in the second test than those who did the memory tasks.
You can read the full report at the Journal of health Psychology.