We now know that our exercise endurance can be improved simply by adjusting what we’re LOOKING AT while we are exercising! This comes from the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Researchers asked a group of exercisers to pedal themselves to exhaustion on stationary bikes while watching various images or words flash on a screen. The result? When participants saw images of happy faces, they pedaled 3 minutes LONGER, on average, compared to those who saw images of sad faces. And get this: When people read different action words onscreen – like “go,” “energy” and “lively” – they cycled a whopping SIX MINUTES LONGER, compared to workouts where those same people had read inaction words – including “stop,” “rest” and “sleep.”
Researchers say the results make sense because many studies have shown that your mindset can easily overrule your muscles when it comes to your perception of fatigue. Think about it: When you’re having a terrible day, everything you do can feel like a chore – even walking up a flight of stairs – because you’re more likely to feel worn down. But when you’re in a good mood, you may suddenly have the energy to bounce up stairs two steps at a time! Well, this new study found that when exercisers were exposed to positive visual cues – say, a smiling face – it actually “tricked” their brain into being more positive, which made exercise feel easier. So, the next time you hit the gym, try looking at motivational messages on your smartphone, or images of people you love. According to this new study, that one move could help you exercise longer.