First, Pretend You're Gumby...

19 September, 2012

Put another way: pretend you're Gumby. Researchers have found that people who vividly imagine lengthening and moving their arms or legs find stretching easier to do. And that could lead to greater flexibility gains. So close your eyes and envision your muscles getting longer and looser whenever you stretch.

In a recent study, three groups of volunteers (30 people in all) went through a 4-week flexibility program. While all the groups emerged with more limber bodies, two of them applied their minds as well as their bodies to the process. One group visualized moving the limb they were stretching, while the other imagined the physiological process of stretching, trying to "see" their muscles elongating. Both of these groups found their flexibility workouts easier to do than the members of the control group did... yet they still got at least the same flexibility gains. Sweet.

SOURCES: Movement and stretching imagery during flexibility training. Vergeer, I., Roberts, J., Journal of Sports Sciences 2006 Feb;24(2):197-208.


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