Gotta Put Your Mind to It
Ohio University researchers report that merely imagining muscle exercises can strengthen those muscles. The study involved two groups of volunteers, each of whom had one wrist immobilized in a cast for four weeks, with one group instructed to spend 11 minutes a day, 5 days a week, focusing intently on imagining that they were flexing that arm's muscles. The other group got no instructions. At the end of one month, the mental exercisers' arm muscles were twice as strong as the other group's. While prior research has indicated that mental exercising can boost muscle strength, “our study suggests is that imagery exercises could be a valuable tool to prevent or slow muscles from becoming weaker when a health problem limits or restricts a person's mobility," said author Brian Clark.