When the next step seems impossible, smile. Study reveals that strategy motivates and influences the effectiveness of movements. And takes you to the finish line.
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For athletes of all levels, endurance is critical.
It consists of physiological and psychological factors.
If the physical limit is stationary, the mental factor must be worked on.
The lower the perceived effort, the easier we feel an activity is.
To activate this mechanism, a new study recommends a very simple trick.
When the effort needs to be overcome, smile.
The research was done by Swansea University (England).
In it, 24 competing runners were recruited.
They all completed four six-minute running shots on a treadmill.
With each shot, they rested for two minutes.
During each race, participants made different expressions.
They smiled, frowned, consciously tried to relax their hands and torso.
Or adopted their normal focus of attention during the race.
Each participant also wore a breathing mask.
The device measured the amount of oxygen consumed during the effort.
As a result, participants were more economical (used less energy) when they smiled.
Specifically 2.8% more economical than when they frowned.
And 2.2% more economical compared to the condition of normal thoughts.
The strategy may seem peculiar, but it is used by many elite athletes.
Among them, the Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge.
It is the winner of the London, Chicago, Berlin and Rotterdam marathons.
In this high level category, any difference can mean the podium.
But why does this happen?
There seem to be two explanations.
Adopting a facial expression can influence the way emotions are experienced.
And smiling can increase relaxation among runners, which improves running economy.
Try the technique the next time you work out.
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