This past week I’ve been on holiday in Amsterdam. And it was amazing, aside from the fact that I put on serious pounds from all the good food, I had so much fun. In fact, every bar or restaurant we went to had the Olympics up on the TV so I could feel like a huge pig stuffing fries into my mouth while watching seriously fit people do their thang.
In a recent piece, Associate Professor of Cognitive Science Jim Davis argues that just imagining exercise can make you stronger.
Essentially, it’s all down to mental preparation. Like you’d see a surgeon or a golfer or sportsperson doing before they perform. “When you imagine exercising, your breath and heart rate actually increase. Mental practice is one of the few effective performance enhancing activities.”
So you’re tricking your body into sending the signals it would if you were actually working out. Jim calls this a form of ‘self-deceit’. Watching Olympians and imagining it was you can actually improve your strength and stamina. Which is incredible.
Exercise scientist Guang Yue even supported this by proving that imagination can increase muscle strength, the muscles that were imagine-exercised improved by 22 percent. Literally, mind over matter.
So next time you’re watching the Olympics, think about yourself up there and you might just be closer to reaching it. Seriously!
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