Will this be yet another paper on bodyweight exercises? On resistance, tabata, running, sprints? Nope. Did you know that you can improve your strength results by imagining you’re exercising? This sounds ridiculous, but it is confirmed by research. Wondering how’s it possible? Read on.
Imagining that you’re performing a task and actually performing it requires the exact same amount of work and sensory dexterity of the brain. The study proved that in the case of such tasks as playing the piano or physical exercise you can achieve similar results by actually performing or by imagining the performance.
Imagination and strength build-up
Two groups of people took part in the study. Both of them performed the same exercises for four weeks. One of them performed the exercises only psychically, in their imagination. As it turned out, that group which actually physically exercised increased their strength by 30%. The group which imagined the exercised improved their results by 22%. It stems from the fact that the neurons responsible for the movement instructions were still in use and trained.
Even though it’s not a magical or mystical power, the psychical practice is an effective way of preparing for any physical task. Each and every thought does indeed change the structure and functions of brain by influencing the neurons on a microscopic scale.
Our thoughts, projections and beliefs can strongly influence the results we achieve. In another study the Harvard scientists informed one group of hotel maids that their work could be classified as an intense workout. The other group was not provided with such information. Four weeks later the group which believed they were exercising noted a drop in weight and body fat levels and an improved blood pressure – changes absent in the other group.
We’d love to sit and do nothing, just imagining the exhausting exercises and achieve impressive results. This is, of course, not an option. But imagination can aid us along the way.