Rewire Your Brain to Exercise Even More

A new study shows that there is something to the saying “The body believes what the mind perceives”.

Brock University researchers wanted to understand how mental outlook can help people struggling to make their workout goals. They studied 18 cyclists with competition experience, a group of people that understood the need for a positive mental mindset.*

The conclusion of the study was “Motivational self-talk is effective in altering the internal psychophysiological control of exercise and plays a role in improving endurance capacity” – In other words, motivational messaging works.

Nine of the cyclists then took two weeks to train as normal. The other nine received sessions in motivational skills training, a kind of self-talk that involves “reframing” negative feelings—like how hot it is—into positive ones. Instead of thinking “My legs are burning” or “I’m sweating like crazy,” they were taught to come up with more positive, empowering phrases like “I’m doing well” or “I can handle this.”

The result was the “motivational” group was able to ride a surprising 25% longer, and they also had a higher threshold for the distress that knocked out their counterparts out.

If you exercise hard you know you can get to a point you feel like you just can’t go on any longer but this study shows that your brain knows your body can handle more stress.  Listen to your body- with any specific pain in a joint, tendon or muscle means you should stop training immediately.  But the discomfort from breathing hard and pushing the body hard as you can and then some is something that can be turned into a positive experience that you can be proud of while getting to that next level!

*Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017 Jan;49(1):191-199.