CONSTANTLY wanting more money? Take up exercise!
A study has found that the ‘natural high’ associated with aerobic exercise dampened the need for rewards, in this case the chance to win a cash sum.A team of researchers from the University of Berlin performed an experiment on two groups of volunteers. The first group did little exercise normally while the others were trained endurance athletes.
They asked them to run for 30 minutes on a treadmill or undertake more gentle exercise. An hour later, they played a monetary incentive delay game where the participants had to press buttons quickly to try and gain or avoid losing a euro. The brain didn’t respond any differently when it came to losing a euro, but it blunted all of the volunteers’ desire to win money, even those who were new to exercise. Reward anticipation is linked with a short spike of the chemical dopamine, and exercise increases dopamine levels, a feeling that can last for a couple of hours.