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Why Online Shopping Is My New Workout Incentive

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Woman running on treadmill. Photo: Martin Barraud/Getty Images

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A few years ago, I learned about "temptation bundling," a practice that has completely changed the way I work out. Coined by Wharton professor Katherine Milkman, the concept involves pairing fun, instantly gratifying activities with unpleasant, but nevertheless necessary ones.

Milkman came up with the idea after realizing that while she hated going to the gym, she loved listening to fluffy fiction audiobooks — so she decided to only allow herself to enjoy, say, The Hunger Games while working out. As a result, she became a near-daily gymgoer.

Likewise, by only allowing myself to stream eminently binge-able shows like Pretty Little Liars and 30 Rock while on the treadmill, I’ve managed to squeeze three — sometimes even four! — gym visits into my weekly schedule. On Saturdays and Sundays, I even sip an iced coffee while logging my six miles.

Recently, I managed to find an even better "temptation" to bundle into this odd (but undeniably motivating) workout plan: online shopping.

Recently, I managed to find one more "temptation" to bundle into this odd (but undeniably motivating) workout plan: online shopping.

See, I typically walk at the reasonable pace of four miles per hour — brisk enough to count as exercise, but slow enough that I can simultaneously peruse Instagram or watch Netflix on my phone without getting a headache. Turns out it’s also the right pace for browsing Net-a-Porter’s sale offerings — which, of course, is exactly what I did last Friday.

After contemplating a Rag & Bone romper and a polka-dotted top and matching shorts from Alice + Olivia, I checked back in on a black long-sleeved Isabel Marant dress that I had spied a few days earlier and loved, but hadn’t been able to buy because it was almost entirely sold out.

As fate would have it, apparently somebody had just returned one, and my size now blessedly read "low stock" — something I never would’ve noticed had I not been treadmill-ing at the time.

I hopped off my machine, grabbed my credit card out of my gym bag, jumped back on, and clicked to purchase, completing the entire transaction without breaking a sweat. (Or rather, without interrupting my sweat session.)

Sure, the best workouts benefit both your mind and body. But the way I see it, if you can find one that also somehow benefits your closet, so much the better.