If you don't control your mind, someone else will…

Best Exercise Tip EVER! and more on the Brain

Do you hate to exercise? Or are you an impatient person who loves exercise but hates waiting for results? Scientific studies show that if you imagine exercising, you can actually gain strength without even trying! That’s right!
You can gain muscles just by thinking about exercising!!!!

Here is a simple way to do this:

Think of the part you want to exercise. If you can’t do fifty push-ups, image them mentally.

Imagine the hardest thing you can do with that body part.

Think about it for about 30 minutes. Perhaps while in the shower or during your drive to work.

See results in around 6 weeks.

Every morning in my mind, I take a brisk 30 minute walk, and do both 50 push-ups and sit-ups.

(Of course this should not replace real physical activity. But it can supplement it and help during times you are busy such as the holiday season. )

There was a scientific study with 10 students.  5 students imagined exercising their pinky finger for 30 minutes every day while the other 5 students did nothing. After 6 weeks, the 5 students who imagined exercise increased their pinky finger strength by 35% and the other 5 students who did nothing, showed no change in muscle strength.

One reason this works is because when your brain thinks you’re exercising, it produces more amino acid (protein) in your body.

In a similar experiment, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation also discovered that a muscle can be strengthened just by thinking about exercising it.

For 12 weeks (five minutes a day, five days per week) a team of 30 healthy young adults imagined either using the muscle of their little finger or of their elbow flexor. Dr. Vinoth Ranganathan and his team asked the participants to think as strongly as they could about moving the muscle being tested, to make the imaginary movement as real as they could.

Compared to a control group – that did no imaginary exercises and showed no strength gains – the little-finger group increased their pinky muscle strength by 35%. The other group increased elbow strength by 13.4%.

What’s more, brain scans taken after the study showed greater and more focused activity in the prefrontal cortex than before. The researchers said strength gains were due to improvements in the brain’s ability to signal the muscle.

Your brain is a thinking organ that learns and grows by interacting with the world through perception and action. Mental stimulation improves brain function and actually protects against cognitive decline, as does physical exercise.

The human brain is able to continually adapt and rewire itself. Even in old age, it can grow new neurons. Severe mental decline is usually caused by disease, whereas most age-related losses in memory or motor skills simply result from inactivity and a lack of mental exercise and stimulation. In other words, use it or lose it.

Engage Your Brain

It is important to challenge your brain to learn new and novel tasks, especially processes that you’ve never done before. Examples include square-dancing, chess, tai chi, yoga, or sculpture. Working with modeling clay or play dough is an especially good way for children to grow new connections. (Actually I love working with play dough and modeling clay–it’s not just for kids!) It helps develop agility and hand-brain coordination, (like controlling the computer mouse with your opposite hand). Tennis, table tennis and ping-pong are actually some of the best activities for your brain according to Neuroscientist Dr. Amen.

Here is an exercise that can strengthen neural connections and even create new ones:

Switch the hand you are using to control the computer mouse. Use the hand you normally do NOT use.

What do you notice?

Is it harder to be precise and accurate with your motions?

Do you feel like you did when you were first learning to tie your shoelaces?

If you are feeling uncomfortable and awkward don’t worry, your brain is learning a new skill.

Try other neural building and strengthening exercises with everyday movements. Use your opposite hand to brush your teeth, dial the phone or operate the TV remote.

Neurobics

Neurobics™ is a unique system of brain exercises using your five physical senses and your emotional sense in unexpected ways that encourage you to shake up your everyday routines. They are designed to help your brain manufacture its own nutrients that strengthen, preserve, and grow brain cells.

Created by Lawrence C. Katz, Ph.D., a professor of neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center, neurobics can be done anywhere, anytime, in offbeat, fun and easy ways. Nevertheless, these exercises can activate underused nerve pathways and connections, helping you achieve a fit and flexible mind.

Neurobic Exercises

Try to include one or more of your senses in an everyday task:
Get dressed with your eyes closed
Wash your hair with your eyes closed
Share a meal and use only visual cues to communicate. No talking.

Combine two senses:
Listen to music and smell flowers
Listen to the rain and tap your fingers
Watch clouds and play with modeling clay at the same time

Break routines:
Go to work on a new route
Eat with your opposite hand
Shop at new grocery store

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2 responses

  1. These are all great suggestions! I enjoyed the research stats and wondered, ‘if one dreams of running a marathon, do the muscles get the same benefits?!!!
    i think i dream all night long, and if so, maybe that’s why i’m tired when i awaken!

    z

    November 28, 2012 at 10:02 pm

  2. Liked the Neurobic Exercises. Also, thinking about things can help in sports. See the link below for more information. (It has me wondering: What if the Eagles had been doing this?)

    http://www.llewellyn.com/encyclopedia/article/244

    November 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm

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