Directed thinking leads to an increase in exercise performance and fitness in sedentary individuals or so say researchers. In a study which asked subjects to think about ideas that fell into either the ‘reasons’ category or the ‘actions’ category the results showed a significant difference in the physical actions taken when comparing individuals from the two groups.
Participating as a member of the ‘reasons’ category involved listing reasons why the individuals thought they should be exercising. For example, for weight loss, improved stamina or better health, while the ‘actions’ category were busy listing actions they could take in order to increase exercise performance, such as joining a gym or going for a run.
This activity took place over an eight week period, with the ‘actions’ group coming out on top. Members of this group increased the level of exercise they were taking and improved cardiovascular fitness. Bringing to mind the reasons why you should exercise on a regular basis appeared to have no effect on increasing time spent exercising.
You may be able to think your way out of an unhealthy lifestyle by actively thinking about WHAT you can change to improve your lifestyle as opposed to focusing on WHY you should.
Ten Eyck LL, Gresky DP, Lord CG, Effects of Directed Thinking on Exercise and Cardiovascular Fitness, Journal of Applied Biobehavioural Research, 2007, 12(3-4):237.