Recent studies continue to show the important role our thoughts and imagination play in improving health and physical performance.
It’s been proven that imagining doing a physical act causes the same brain activity as actually doing it. Whether shooting a free-throw, learning a piano piece, or strengthening a specific muscle, imagining the act gave close to the same gains as actual practice over a short time period.
After five days, those physically practicing began to gain greater ability. However, those who had ‘exercised mentally only’ and then added the physical practice reached the status of the exercise group with less total practice time.
In another case, researchers examined hotel housekeeping staff, looking at blood studies, body fat percentage, etc. They then told these workers how fortunate they were to be getting such good exercise everyday, and how they were really benefitting.
When they re-examined these same workers a few months later they found significant improvement in their health and fitness levels, even though their activities had not changed. How they saw themselves, how they “thought” they were doing changed them for the better.
In an even more amazing study, a researcher in Boston did similar health biometrics on a group of mid-70 year-olds. These folks were then placed in an environment that mimicked their lives in their 30’s – cars, magazines, furniture and music duplicated the earlier era.
After 30 days, all health measurements were improved, even the lengths of their fingers! And this was without even thinking about health or exercise. Just being happy and hopeful seemed to jump-start healing.
Clearly, thought always comes before action (hopefully). Before you rearrange the living room furniture, you get the idea and then the action follows (as well as the possible back strain reaction!).
In my practice, I coach on movement, breath-work, rehab exercises, etc. Common responses I get when I ask how a new technique is working are: “OK, but… I don’t do it often enough” or “I’m not too good at it” or “I have trouble sticking with it” or “_____” (fill in the blank – you and I both have a few more we can add!)
So, my clients and I then make an agreement to let ourselves know we are doing well, we are improving lifestyle and we are gaining better exercise and movement habits and abilities.
Instead of the old adage “I’ll believe it when I see it.”, let’s try “I’ll see it when I believe it!”
Dr. Huntington practices Chiropractic, Biomedical Acupuncture and Physiotherapy in Oracle, Az. He enjoys gardening and has and organic-fed egg and broiler business with his son, Andrew. 520-896-9844 firstname.lastname@example.org