Brief walks can minimise sugar cravings

Brief walks can minimise sugar cravings

Learn about the many benefits of walking for just 15 minutes per day…

If you’ve set a goal to cut down on sugary snacks and desserts, researchers suggest that walking just 15 minutes per day could be enough to curb those cravings, especially chocolate-related ones.

Scientists in the U.K. did a study of 25 chocolate eaters, asking them to either engage in a daily brisk walk or to rest for the same amount of time. Participants reported lower cravings when they walked compared to when they didn’t. The researchers noted that previous studies have suggested the same tactic can be used for reducing nicotine addiction — which means that whether you’re craving a smoke or a cupcake, it helps to head out for a walk.

Although Taylor’s study was modest in size, it’s not the only research to make this connection. Other studies have highlighted the benefits of this tactic and have shown you can achieve the same results even on a treadmill.

For example, researchers in Austria looked at a group of overweight people who reported considerable cravings for sugary snacks. They had the participants abstain from sweets for three days and then walk on a treadmill for 15 minutes at a brisk pace. For comparison, other participants were told to sit passively for 15 minutes without doing anything. Once those sessions were completed, participants in both groups were asked to hold a sweet treat without eating it.

The treadmill group showed significantly less interest in eating the sweet treat than those who were passive. Researchers suggest the results might be related to how walking can improve mood and regulate blood sugar more effectively, which both have an impact on cravings.

Get outside

While it’s helpful to know you can turn to a treadmill when needed, getting outdoors might be particularly powerful for crushing those cravings. That’s because the boost you get from exercise can be augmented through being in green spaces, even if that means a city park, or around your block.

For example, a study on 3,000 people in Tokyo found spending at least a little time outside every day provided improvements in emotional health, and those results were consistent across all age groups.

Plus, outdoor activity tends to lead to more interest in exercise, adds Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, PhD, a professor in environmental epidemiology at the Barcelona Institute for Global Research.

“We know that green space can reduce stress and improve mental health, and may lead to more physical activity and social contacts,” he says. “That can have a range of benefits, from an improved immune system, to better sleep, to healthier eating choices.”

That means knocking out your cravings may be only one effect of those brisk walks — you could start a whole cascade of advantages to both body and mind.

Reduce stress

A brief walk could also provide a measure of prevention for the future, by giving you more resilience overall to reduce cravings from coming up in the first place, adds Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of “Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less.

This type of “active rest” teaches your mind to anticipate and embrace the activity, which means that whenever a trigger for craving comes up, you’ve taught your brain to pivot toward activity instead of your sweet stash. That’s particularly important for dealing with one of the major causes of cravings, Pang says, and that’s stress.

“We tend to think of rest as complete physical relaxation like we’re lounging or lying down,” says Pang. “But there’s a great deal to be said for getting more stress relief through a break that includes activity, like a walk.”

Stress doesn’t manifest only as feeling overwhelmed, frantic or frazzled, he adds. It can also show up as fatigue, boredom, irritation and sadness. Many people turn to sugary foods like chocolate at that point, thinking it will give them a much-needed boost — which it tends to do, but only temporarily. Once that surge in blood sugar recedes, they’re often left feeling even more stressed and depleted than before. Taking a walk can break this cycle, Pang suggests, and give you the other benefits of activity as well.

“Best of all, there’s no downside here,” he says. “If you’re trying to cut down on sugar or you’re getting cravings because you’re stressed or fatigued, take that 15-minute walk break; you might be surprised at how much it can do.”

This article was originally written by author: Elizabeth Millard

Elizabeth is a freelance journalist specialising in health and fitness, as well as an ACE certified personal trainer and Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher. Her work has appeared in SELF, Runner’s World, Women’s Health and CNN.

Also read:


You can switch between keto/banting, Low GI & Mediterranean) as well as daily exercise program for men and women.

Your first 7 days are free! Click here to find out more: LK Fitness App

(Low carb = Banting)

Or, order one of our eBooks or online plans on the LK Fitness website: eBooks and online meal plans

5 Mistakes to Correct When Walking for Weight loss

5 Mistakes to Correct When Walking for Weight loss

Brisk walking can be an excellent way to get fit, lose weight and stay healthy. Walking is an easy, natural way for us to expend energy from the food we eat, however we can learn to walk more effectively, and increase the fat burn.

Don’t worry if you’ve reached a weight-loss plateau. Common walking mistakes can easily be rectified and can get you back on tract so that you can reach your weight-loss goals.

Mistake 1
You never change you pace and intensity

While walking at a leisurely pace is better than no exercise at all, it is best to walk at a brisk pace for improving your fitness and weight loss.

Adding higher intensity intervals can make walking even more effective and fun. You don’t have to do intervals for the entire walk or every time either. Beginners can do at least 15 minutes of high intensity walking on 3 nonconsecutive days per week, or do 2 high intensity walks and one of my HIIT programs in the LINDA KRIEL FITNESS APP.

Example of a HIIT walk: 1 minute brisk walking followed by 1 minute slow pace walking. In the brisk walking interval, swing your arms. Vigorous arm pumping not only speeds your pace, it also provides a good upper body workout, and it will cause you to burn 5 to 10 percent more calories. This HIIT type of workout can help rev your metabolism and break through a weight-loss plateau.

Mistake 2
You have no fixed routine

The secret to building good habits is repetition. If you don’t have a set routine it can be easy to procrastinate and avoid your walk.

To avoid procrastinating, set up a schedule and stick to it. Set down days to go walking with a friend or walk in your lunch hour. You may want to wake up earlier to exercise or walk after dinner. You’ll be more likely to make your daily walk a consistent part of your routine if you set aside a dedicated window of time when you can make it happen. If you miss one day, don’t beat yourself up, simply resume your routine as soon as possible.

Click on this link and spoil yourself with ATHLEISURE from Linda Kriel

Mistake 3
You do not vary your route

It’s surprisingly easy to get stuck in a rut. If you stick to the same route, over time your body adapts and it won’t be as challenging. To boost weight-loss (and keep things exciting) change your scenery often. Try and devise a handful of routes that vary in length, grade, and terrain. Maybe a new park, a hilly route, a mountain trail, the beach or a new suburb. A different terrain engages different muscle groups and challenge your body in new ways.

Mistake 4
You walk too slow

Walk at a pace as if you are about to miss your flight at the airport. Don’t stop to smell the flowers, or chat with your neighbour if your aim is to lose weight. When you stop, your heart rate drops below the fat burning level. Remember to vary your walking pace on certain days. See mistake 1 above.

Mistake 5
You’re not doing any strength training

Don’t spend all your energy walking if you’re trying to drop a dress size. Strength training is a key part of weight-loss since it helps build muscle, and muscle burns more calories than fat; up to three times more by some estimates. Whether it’s with simple bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats and tricep dips or using equipment like dumbbells. Strength training can help you build the core, gluteus and hip muscles, and increases bone density. This will make you walk further and faster. It can also help prevent injury, which means you’ll reach your goals sooner.

Tip: Do a few (two or three) strength training exercises straight after your walk. Your body will be warmed up, and it will only take you 3 to 5 minutes.

You can visit our website for free exercises for your problem areas:

For our English website, click here: Linda Kriel Fitness

For our Afrikaans website, click here: Eet reg, Oefen reg

Download the Linda Kriel Fitness App for diet plans and exercise programs.

Combine your walking with the exercise programs in the app, or make full use op the app programs to train indoors during cold or rainy days.

Click here to find out more: LINDA KRIEL FITNESS APP