Friday, March 8, 2013

Running Reduces Your Desire For Money

Did the title get your attention? Sure did get mine. How is this possible?  Well, there have been published studies to show that aerobic exercise can suppress our desire to eat, lessen the urge of a smoker to smoke etc. But money? Do we want less money after running? You gotta be kidding me. Please read on to find our more.

A group of German researchers conducted the following study. 48 men were randomly divided in two groups. One group ran at low to moderate intensity on a treadmill for 30 minutes. The other group performed light stretching and doing arm circles (or placebo exercises). The subjects played a monetary incentive game an hour after exercise while an MRI monitored their brain activity. The subjects had to press buttons as quickly as possible in order to win an euro or prevent themselves from losing an euro. Each subject had to do this 75 times.

The researchers found that the men who had ran earlier had lower cravings for cash. This is likely due to the rush of dopamine (a feel good chemical) that follows exercise (which explains the runner's high too). Dopamine is a driving force in your brain's reward system. Although the desire for money also comes with a rise in dopamine levels, the spike triggered after exercise overrides it, well, at least for a few hours.

Now I know why when I was younger (and training/ running a lot harder) that money wasn't that important to me. All I wanted to do then was to be the best athlete that I could be. So if you're thinking of going to the casino to try your luck, don't run before that.

Email me if you want a copy of the article.

Bothe N, Zschucke E, Dimeo F et al (2013). Acute Exercise Influences Reward Processing In Highly Trained and Untrained Men. Med and Sci in Sports and Ex. 45(3): 583-591.

*Photo by Francis Loh.

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