Exercise may be a simple if unexpected way to increase our willpower and help us avoid making impulsive choices that we will later regret.
A lack of self-control can often contribute to problems like weight gain, depression and even addiction.
Given these effects, scientists have been interested in finding ways to increase people’s self-restraint. The new study, which was published in Behaviour Modification, suggests that exercise may alter how well people can control their impulses.
A group of researchers at the University of Kansas in the United States examined the effects of training, including the psychological impact. Participants in the study developed greater self-control and even maintained it a month ater the formal training ended, although most had tapered off their exercise routines by then.
According to study author Michael Sofis many past studies have concluded that regular exercise can alter the working of the brain involved in impulse control. “Exercise may have more abstract pscyhological impact on our sense of self-control,” Sofis said.
Although the study was small in scale the results suggest that people can change and improve their self-control with regular physical activity.