On the first morning, women walked briskly on a treadmill for 45 minutes and then had their brain waves measured within the hour using an EEG macine while they looked at 240 pictures—120 of plated food and 120 of flowers (as a control). Exactly one week later, the women participated in the experiment again, sans exercise. On both experiment days, they also tracked their food consumption and physical activity.
Researchers found that slim and obese women both produced lower brain responses to the food images and participated in more total physical activity over the course of the day when they exercised in the morning. However, despite moving more, the women ate the same amount of food as they did on the non-exercise day.
“There is no established recommendation for the time of day a person should exercise,” says study author James LeCheminant, PhD, “but I think it's worth a person trying, if they're struggling with how much they eat, perhaps to exercise beforehand and see if their individual response would be a diminished desire to eat.”
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