Some mornings I go to spin class and have tons of energy. On those days, I can turn the resistance on the bike up and push through an hour with relative ease. When class ends, I leave feeling tired yet invigorated.
On other days? Well, not so much. Some mornings I arrive in a haze of sleeplessness and muddle through class. And then there are other mornings I am probably a bit dehydrated. And then there are the days when I have barely any energy and cannot figure out why. Those are the toughest ones because class begins and ends without much satisfaction.
Does this happen to you too, when one day you arrive at the gym ready to light the world on fire and other days you cannot seem to lift a feather? Do you have those days when you just have to muddle through?
Last week researchers released a study showing that when people are feeling a sense of powerlessness, they may find a specific task to be more physically challenging than usual. Sure, life gets stressful sometimes, but who knew how much that could be affecting our workouts? Shouldn’t a workout, in theory, help alleviate that stress?
The answer is yes. A workout should help alleviate stress, but according to this data, that workout may not necessarily be an easy one. In a series of tests, people who felt powerless perceived the weight of a set of boxes as significantly heavier than those who felt more power over their lives. The way you perceive yourself affects how you see objects around you, from a set of boxes in a research study to weights at the gym or the resistance on a spin bike. With a feeling of power, each of those items will seem lighter.
I found this news particularly fascinating, because it truly speaks to the art of mind over matter. It holds true in various aspects of our lives (something I need to tattoo to my forehead on those particularly stressful days). Perception influences perception. Our perception of our personal situation influences our perception of the obstacles in front of us, both figuratively and now literally.
You know those days when it seems like the weight of the world is on our shoulders? Well, it certainly may feel that way, but it may be more helpful to unload that burden by changing the way we look at our situation, especially when we are heading to the gym or exercise class is feeling a little glum. If we consider the reality of the situation and where our true power may lie before walking through those doors, we may just have a more effective workout while there.
What a wonderful reason to choose positivity, don’t you think?
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