Start thinking about being fit and healthy.
Our thought processes influence our capacity to obtain personal and career goals, and recent research shows that how we think and what we think can have a significant impact on our fitness and muscle development, weight loss and our devotion to exercise.
When you have a thought or you see an image while daydreaming, certain chemicals are released in the brain that cause reactions locally and throughout the body, including your muscles. These processes could have positive impacts on the physical and psychological effects of sports and exercise.
Positive thinking has been shown to improve health, exercise behaviors, exercise adherence and overall optimism. Specifically, research has indicated that individuals who think they can lose weight or increase their physical activity typically do. Before we get to excited, thinking about being fit is not enough to make you fit, but its a necessary piece of the puzzle. Having a positive attitude will go a long way in your quest to be healthy.
Mental imagery also factors into the mind-muscle bridge. This is a form of mental stimulation that involves creating pictures or experiences in the mind. These images can be very simple or very elaborate. Research using positron emission tomography (PET) and electromyography (EMG) has consistently demonstrated that imagery stimulates brain and muscle activity. I advocate using imagery to help my clients focus on executing exercises correctly, promoting gains in strength and fitness. Studies also show that imagery is positively associated with exercise motivation, exercise self-confidence, and exercise frequency, all of which produce gains in strength, flexibility, and aerobic endurance.
As individuals we control most factors related to the mind-body connection. The first step toward positive change involves examining our own thought processes and personal beliefs. One suggestion is to keep a daily journal of your thoughts, behaviors and feelings. Once you have assessed your daily behaviors, make changes appropriately. Sometimes just changing your attitude and the way you think about things is enough to make all the difference.