Chewing gum is my weakness. You can call me Violet Beauregarde because I always have a quality stick of peppermint Trident on me. But even as a gum aficionado, I never knew that chewing gum during your workout could actually be really beneficial (until a recent study was published about it, that is). Well, I'll be over here rejoicing, because you know I did that sh*t anyway.
According to a new study published in The Journal of Physical Therapy Science, if you chew gum while walking your heart rate will begin to increase in a super healthy way. The scientists at Tokyo's Waseda University discovered this by by taking a group of 46 female and male participants and dividing them into two study groups. The first group was instructed to chew two differently sized pieces of gum while they walked at a normal pace for 15 minutes. And group number two also walked leisurely for 15 minutes, however instead of actually chewing gum, they swallowed a powder with the same ingredients that gum contains.
The researchers tested the participants' resting and average heart rates during the experiment and calculated how much energy they expended, both with and without the act of chewing.
What they found was that walking while chewing gum significantly increased the heart rate of both males and females in the study, while the heart rates of the subjects sans chewing stayed the same.
While the exact reason for the elevation of heart rate wasn't specified in the research, the scientists revealed that it might be because of cardiac-locomotor synchronization, which is basically a fancy way of saying that your cardiac rhythm and your rhythm of movement sync up. The human body, man — pretty freaking cool.
If you're thinking to yourself why the heck it even matters that your heart rate is a bit more elevated during cardiovascular activities, it's because speeding up your heartbeat lets blood flow more quickly and efficiently to your muscles, according to AZ Central. Your muscles then take in the oxygen and nutrients of your blood and thus, your body is happy AF.
And increased heart rate isn't the only perk of chewing gum during cardio. According to a 2013 study in the British Journal of Psychology, chewing gum actually helps you better focus on tasks at hand because of its benefit on cognitive areas of the brain.
So, when you can't seem to get in the zone during your next sweat sesh, try nomming on a stick of Juicy Fruit to focus in on those #Gains and up your heart rate.
Double whammy, amirite? Also, kidding on the Juicy Fruit — unless you're into the whole vanishing flavor within .3 seconds thing.
On the real, though, it's important to note that you should probably only try this chewing gum trick out solely during cardio workouts. The heart rate increase was only noted after consistent forward motor movement, and TBH gum chewing during a HIIT circuit or a yoga flow would high key be mildly dangerous (choking hazard!).
To reap the heart healthy benefits that gnawing on some gum provides, try going for a good old power walk in the sunshine, on the treadmill, or elliptical. Or consider rounding up a group of fellow gum chewers and hitting the trails for an awesome mind-clearing hike. You'll all be incredibly focused on all the awesome nature surrounding you, with your hearts pumping happily and steadily the entire time.
Clear eyes, full hearts, cant lose was clearly said in reference to chewing gum during some cardiovascular exercise. Don't fight me on this, fam.