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Mental Muscle Exercise and Neural Pathways

Weight Trainer

Here's an interesting piece someone sent me:

ATHENS, Ohio, Dec. 24 (UPI) — New research suggests muscles respond to simple thoughts of exercise; simply imagining exercise can trick the muscles into delaying atrophy and even getting stronger. It’s further proof that brain and body, which evolved together, are more intwined than separate.

To demonstrate the power of the brain, researchers at Ohio University wrapped a single wrist of two sets of study participants in a cast — immobilizing their muscles for four weeks. One set was instructed to sit still and intensely imagine exercising for 11 minutes, five days a week. More than just casually daydream about going to the gym, participants were instructed to devote all of their mental energy towards imagining flexing their arm muscles.

Obviously this is different work than eliminating chronic pain. But what was fascinating was the power of the brain to strengthen muscles with mental exercises. Previous studies have shown skill improvement with mental practice (free throw shooting in basketball), but this shows physiological changes in measured strength!

Brain imaging showed changes suggesting neural pathways were strengthened as well.

Again, further evidence of the power of the mind/brain and thought to change physical parameters, functions, and abilities. So you can Think Yourself to Strength... and Think Away Your Pain.

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