Mental Imagery Exercises Can Boost Physical Strength, Study Finds

If you’re looking to boost your strength, try flexing some mental muscles.

According to a new study from the Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute, practicing mental visualization can actually build physical strength. Researchers found that mental imagery helped a group of immobilized study participants maintain strength and reduce associated muscle loss.

In the experiment, 29 healthy participants spent four weeks in rigid casts that extended from their elbows to their fingers. These types of casts, typically used to help a broken bone heal, are associated with muscle loss, so the researchers expected the participants to lose some strength. A control group of 15 did not wear a cast.

Within the immobilized group, 14 participants were asked to regularly perform a mental imagery task, in which they were verbally guided to imagine intensely contracting their wrist for five seconds and then resting for five seconds. The participants performed the task in sessions, five times per week. The other 15 participants in the immobilization group did not perform the exercise.

After four weeks, both of the groups whose arms had been in a cast had lost muscle strength in the immobilized limb, compared to the control group. However, the group —> Read More Here


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