Don’t Call Your Work-Out “Exercise!”
Whether you think of your workouts as fun or, well, work (so, basically the opposite of something fun) could make all the difference when it comes to losing weight, finds a new study published in Marketing Letters: A Journal of Research in Marketing.
Researchers at Cornell University set out to see why some people lose weight when starting a new exercise routine and others don’t. They studied two groups of adults who were attending a camp at Cornell; both groups were taken on the same walk, but one group was told the walk was something “fun” to do, while the other group was told the purpose of the walk was to “exercise.” After the walk, both groups were served an all-you-can-eat lunch. The differences in what they ate were pretty striking: The “exercise” group ate 35% more chocolate pudding than the “fun” group (they didn’t eat more salad or veggies, just more dessert).
The results aren’t surprising when you think about it—how many times have you “rewarded” yourself for completing a tough workout with something indulgent? The researchers suspect it’s that mindset shooting so many people in the weight loss foot, often leading to taking in just as many calories, if not more, than were burned off from the exercise. Framing exercise as fun, on the other hand, takes the focus off the effort required by the activity, researchers conclude.
So consider this your permission to trade the same old boring workout for something you actually enjoy (it really is OK to step off the treadmill).