Relax Your Mind for an Easy Workout

Relax Your Mind for an Easy Workout

You're more likely to finish your workout by saying "Boy, that was a breeze!" if you do this first: rest your mind.

Why? Because research suggests that a tired mind means a tired body. Exercisers in a study had a harder time with their workouts when their brains were fatigued.

Brain strain
The men and women in the study were given two different preworkout activities on different days. Before one workout, they were asked to complete a tedious and time-intensive computer task that demanded close attention and quick responses. On another day, their preworkout activity consisted of relaxing in front of documentary films on relatively uncomplicated topics. Ultimately, the study participants reported much more fatigue during the workout following the computer task. They also reached their point of exhaustion more quickly. (Always tired? Ask yourself this important question.)

Mind over matter
It isn't clear exactly how this mind/body fatigue connection worked, but researchers suspect that mental exhaustion messes with the workings of dopamine, an important brain chemical that affects your sense of motivation and your perception of effort. So plan your workout accordingly. A first-thing-in-the-morning run may feel like an easy workout—while an end-of-day jog could be more difficult. Here are a few more ways to get energy efficient with your exercise:

Medically reviewed in December 2019.

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