Well, in previous posts I know I’ve given you some really easy ways to improve your health, but this one probably tops them all for requiring very little effort on your part. In fact, it requires virtually NO effort because it seems that researchers have found that just watching other people exercise causes multiple beneficial changes in your body. How does it get any better than that?!
Actually it makes sense to me that watching would deliver some of the same benefits as actually doing an exercise or sport. I’ve heard that a number of prominent athletes use visualization as a part of their training, and just seeing/visualizing themselves performing certain moves or routines improves actual performance. So the good news is that even when you may not be able to exercise for some physical reason, you can at least WATCH and receive some health benefits. Of course this isn’t intended to endorse becoming a couch potato….
We all know that engaging in physical activity and getting plenty of exercise is one of the best ways to live a healthy, fulfilled life. Thanks to a brand new study that was just published in Australia, it appears as though there are plenty of benefits associated with exercise – even if you’re just watching it.
That’s right, just viewing other people engaging in exercise will increase your heart rate and send your other metrics soaring just from watching other people work out or exercise.
The research itself was conducted at the University of Western Sydney and focused on how watching sports could affect heart rate, respiration and blood flow throughout your skin. Participants in the study watched a video shot from a first person perspective that simulated a vigorous run. The researchers involved with the study monitored their vitals and found that their heart rate, skin blood flow and respiration levels all increased while watching the video.
At the conclusion of the video, participants vital levels returned to normal.
The researchers also noted that sympathetic muscle nerve activity increases also happened to the people watching the running video. Speaking to the media, Vaughan Macefield declared that “we know that the sympathetic nervous system – which supplies the heart, sweat glands and blood vessels, as well as other tissues – increases its activity during actual exercise, and now we have shown that it increases when you are watching a moving scene as if you were running yourself.”
The process of using sensors to track real-time response is becoming much more widespread and affordable thanks to numerous advances in tracking technology over the past few years. Participants in the study all had very fine needles inserted into one of their outer nerves to record signals of nerve fibers that were sent to blood vessels. Each person was initially shown a static image on a computer screen while their physiological parameters were measured.
It was when the researchers brought out the 22 minute first-person video of a vigorous run that they really started to see peoples physiological signs begin to accelerate and show a big change.
It really says an awful lot about our mental state that we can actually get a mild workout – an increase in breathing and heart rate – just from watching somebody else’s workout. This is a great example of the insight that can be gleaned by tracking all of our vital signs and putting them to good use.
Source: The Future Of Health NOW
And check out some of these exercise-related Self-help Health posts; but beware, in these some effort is actually required on your part. 🙂
p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.
Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.