Having an injury can be a serious bummer. You’re stuck on the couch instead of training for your next race. You’re forced to “take it easy” instead of crushing workouts. But a recent study from the Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute at Ohio University shows that a simple visualization exercise could help you retain strength — even while you’re out of commission.
In a study published in The Journal of Neurophysiology, researchers immobilized 29 individuals by putting their non-dominant hands in wrist casts for four weeks. Throughout the month, half of the participants participated in mental imagery exercises while the other half went about their normal lives.
Participants who completed mental imagery exercises lost 50 percent less strength than those who did not.
Five times each week, the 14 subjects in the visualization group were verbally guided through mental exercise sessions, which instructed them to imagine flexing their immobile wrist as hard as possible for five seconds. Participants heard instructions such as: “When we tell you to start, we want you to imagine that you are pushing in against a handgrip as hard as you can and continue to do so until we tell you to stop.” For two minutes, they alternated between five seconds of visualization and five seconds of rest, completing 13 rounds of the exercise.
More of the DailyBurn article from Alex Orlov