Recent research from the University of Exeter has showed that simply taking a short 15 minute walk could significantly reduce the amount of chocolate that is consumed by workers – even in the face of the most stressful of workplace situations. 78 individuals who all confessed to regular midday chocolate consumption took part in the study, where they were asked to abstain from eating chocolate for 48 hours before taking part in a workplace simulation.
The study, published in the journal Appetite, involved 2 groups who walked on a treadmill for 15 minutes before being given a large or moderate volume of work to complete. The other 2 groups were allowed to rest whilst the other groups walked on the treadmill and were then given the same amount of work to complete. The chocolate was placed freely in a bowl on the desk of each individual taking part.
The results proved interesting with the treadmill walkers consuming only half of the amount of chocolate that was consumed by the non-walkers and the difficulty, or ‘stressfullness’, of the task not having any impact on the amount of chocolate consumed in either group, suggesting that stress played no role in influencing the participants on the amount of chocolate that they ate. Professor Adrian Taylor, the lead researcher of the study, has shown in previous studies that exercise can curb cravings for chocolate, but this study was the first of its kind to show that exercise can lead to a reduction in consumption.
So, where is the relevance for me, I hear you think? I agree, for the average trainer who would much sooner be seen doing bicep curls in the squat rack than eating a piece of chocolate over the celery sticks and peanut butter that forms the typical mid afternoon snack, there probably isn’t much. But what about that client with the stubborn pot-belly who is adamant that they have tried every trick imaginable to avoid the mid afternoon devastation of ruining a tremendous 6am session by eating the entire Picnic bar? It probably couldn’t hurt to ask them, ‘Have you tried going for a walk’?