Mind Over Movement

Do you find yourself thinking that your rival team play terribly all the time? When an individual player gets bad press, do you find yourself scrutinising their performance unfavourably? According to the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC, whether we like someone affects how our brain processes their actions.

When we watch another person move, the parts of our brain responsible for motor (movement) skills are activated. This is known as a ‘mirroring’ effect. New research has now discovered that if we like/ dislike the person we are watching it can affect brain activity related to motor actions and lead to ‘differential processing’. Basically, your perception of movement is warped by your feelings toward that person.

Past research has also shown that physical similarity can influence brain processes, and we tend to have more empathy for people who look more like us (how very vain)!

You know that guy who wanders around the gym offering technique advice nobody asked for? (if you don’t know this person, it might be you). Keeping this new research in mind, it may be worth noting that while somebody’s technique may look bad to you, this is not necessarily the case. It may be that you have taken a dislike to them so their movements look awful only to you! In any case, there is support for trying new movements in order to shock the muscles, helping to increase size and strength gains so it may be worth a try!

Take home message: The more people like us; the more awesome they will think we are in the gym and the less likely they are to come up to us offering advice. However, they may hover around your machine, admiring your work and asking you where you get your supplements from!


About the Author

Job Role Sports Nutritionist and Social Media Coordinator Qualifications Bsc Sport and Exercise Science Steph has a competitive athletic background which spans 19 years. As a child she performed with the English Youth Ballet and had performed on the West End stage by the age of 10. Her enthusiasm for sport and fitness continued to grow as she did, encouraging her to learn more about nutrition and training. She began using her knowledge and personal experience to help others when she began coaching at the age of 16. From here, she went on to study Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Essex during which time she also received the Most Promising Newcomer Award from her University to mark her outstanding contribution to sport. During her first year of study she was introduced to partner stunt acrobatics and artistic gymnastics. After one year of dedicating herself to a lifestyle revolving around her sport, she was training with the best team in the UK who are currently ranked fifth in the world. Steph has worked in both the private and public sector coaching children and adults from grassroot to elite level as well as providing them with cutting edge advice on how to reach their goals. Steph has received awards for her choreography and has competed nationally and internationally meaning that she can back up her scientific knowledge with a wealth of experience. As our resident Sports Nutritionist, Steph is here to provide the most current and evidence based fitness, health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
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