Visualization is a powerful and mostly overlooked training tool by most gym goers. With visualization or mental rehearsal, minds and bodies can be trained to actually perform the skill imagined. For those of you who like to geek out on more detail, here is a link to an article with studies referenced at the end. And this is another link. And another. And yet one more. I have practiced visualization for a very long time, starting back as a teenager working on my fight form and technique. It also helped me improve my athletic abilities for recreational sport. It made me a good “skill” guy.
I remember reading a boxing skill article that mentioned a study where one group physically practiced a certain technique improvement and another group used mental rehearsal or visualizaiton. The group that “did” the work made a 26% improvement while the group that “thought” about it made a 25% improvement. Not bad! I’m not going to suggest that all youl do is sit around thinking yourself into better health and fitness : ) but rather adding mental rehearsal to your tool box.
This is something that can be done anywhere and under any circumstance. On the subway. At work. Zoning out while watching T.V. Lying back with music playing. It’s all up to you.
While I’m on the mental thing, reading a magzine while pedaling on a stationary bike may be exercise but it isn’t optimizing neurological pathways or your hormonal profile to improve your outcome. I don’t use gym bikes but if I did you can bet that I’d be on the thing using good riding posture and a tour de france type scene playing in my head. I do this with any and all exercise that I engage in. I can feel my hormones rising just writing about it!! That, folks, is the power of our mind and body connection at work. You want longevity…there it is.
The next time you head for the gym, field, dojo whatever, spend a few minutes visualizing what you plan to do and “think” yourself into a positive groove and see what happens. You may surprise yourself with increased energy or mood and that translates to a more optimal outcome for your training session.
I’m often asked what it is that keeps me vital and energetic and the answer is because I think I can!