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Think Your Way To Better Juggling and Fitness

Here’s an interesting study reported on at NPR. It seems that people are able to improvebrain juggling their physical fitness just by thinking about it. This same technique could be used to improve your joggling and even your juggling ability.

Maid study

Researchers at Harvard studied a group of maids and their exercise habits. They found that most maids believed they weren’t physically active even though their jobs require them to do all kinds of physically intense tasks. In fact, all of the women in the study far exceeded the surgeon general’s daily exercise recommendations.

So, scientists attempted to figure out how much a person’s perception of their exercise would effect their actual health. They measured various things like blood pressure, BMI, body fat, etc. Then they separated a group of maids into two separate groups. One was told about how many calories they were burning just by doing their job. The other group wasn’t told anything.

A month later they measured the maids again. Surprisingly, the group that was educated about their physical activities actually experienced a real drop in blood pressure, weight, and waist to hip ratio. This was despite the fact that none of them actually did any more exercise during the month. The researchers concluded…

If you believe you are exercising, your body may respond as if it is.

It’s a placebo effect

What’s going on? Well, most likely a placebo effect. This study is controversial because most mainstream scientists say the placebo effect can only affect psychological symptoms like pain. For physical symptoms like the ones studied here, there must be some other explanation (like the maids unknowingly increasing their physical activities).

Of course, there is some precedence for this kind of study.  Remember the one about how you could just think your way to improved muscles?

How this can help your fitness

What is a joggler to do with this information?  Try this.

1.  Write down all the activities you do that improve your hand-eye coordination.  Put down anything like writing with a pen, typing on a computer, playing the ukulele, etc.

2.  Recognize that all of those things are improving your hand-eye coordination abilities.

3.  Now, just believe you are a better juggler.

That’s it.  You are now a better, more fit juggler.

I don’t know if it will work but it doesn’t really take much effort so who knows?  I’ll try it for the next month and see if it helps.  You should too.

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Not really too suprising – if we stop viewing cognition as “solely” a mental process and more of a physical process – then this changes the paradigm. Thoughts are nothing more than a specific connection of neurons – so this means that when we change our thoughts, than we are changing or re-routing a neural connection . . .
    One of many major flaws of the study is that we are unaware of the dietary habits – – that is if we become educated on fitness . . . is there the side effect of eating differently and therfore changing the BP and hip to waist ration.

  2. I’ve heard of that maids study before, but now I’m thinking about how I can really apply it. Like – maybe I can get myself to believe that eating ice cream helps me lose weight. Do you think that will work? 🙂

  3. You should definitely try the ice cream trick! Not sure if it will work but it sounds delicious.

    Ron, I had thought about the flaws you suggested. It seems many studies done in the realm of psychology have serious flaws.

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