Before you get yourself pumped up for a workout, what you have to do is visualise exercising to reap the rewards. It's about making time for mental training, which involves you stopping and visualising yourself, for example, running for around 20 minutes.
For example, golfers who imagine their ball going into the hole before they take a shot have 30.4 per cent more successful putts than the ones who don't. Also, patients in arm casts who are told to imagine exercising their wrists and fingers have better strength and flexibility in their hands when the cast is taken off.
Researchers have also found that your breath and heart rate actually speed up during visualised movement. This is because motor visualisation promotes motor learning, so your body picks up how to respond and perform properly in these situations.
The basis was first discovered in 1855 when scientists found that the body responds similarly to visualisation as it does to real imagery, and thus applied this theory to movement. They found that actual and imagined activities involve the same brain patterns, but in imagined movement, the message never gets to the muscles.
The brain activity is so similar, and the body learns how to respond to all the mental cues and exercise poses as a result. This makes you more prepared the next time you muster the strength to pound the pavement.
Green. C, ‘Can you get fit by just thinking about exercise?’, www.bodyandsoul.com.au, August 17, 2016.