“Exercise is good for the Mind, Body and Soul” and “Mind over Matter.” However, is there an effect one’s mind has on physical labor to benefit the body as would traditional exercise? The following studies help answer here in Body Designs 218: Impact of One’s Mindset on One’s Fitness.
A study done in 2007 by Alia Crum, PhD and Ellen Langer, examined the mindset of hotel room attendants at work. Although the duties they were performing were physically demanding, two thirds of the employees viewed their jobs as just work. Most did not consider the possibility that their physical activity could potentially increase their health and fitness level. Then, one of the study’s researchers suggested that their moving of heavy carts down hallways, vacuuming room after room and lifting heavy mattresses while changing bedding should be considered good exercise. After a month’s time, with no other alteration in their day-to-day tasks, the experimental group (those who were told they should think of their job as exercise) showed measurable improvements in body composition and blood pressure levels. The control group showed no changes.
Therefore, no matter the task, whether it is traditional exercise or just everyday activities, physical health benefits can be achieved. So, when you’re working around the house or washing the car, with the right mindset, count it as exercise!
Furthermore, all things equal, graduate student Octavia Zahrt and Crum found in a more recent study, that those who identify (to use a hot-topic word) as being less active than others had markers showing up to a 72% higher mortality risk than those who saw themselves as active! Now that’s a reason to believe that working in a field, a warehouse or on a construction site is exercise!
So now that has been settled, is there also a correlation of one’s mindset and one’s dietary health? Take a guess. To help determine the answer, Crum headed another study. This time experimental groups were given a milkshake containing 380 calories under the guise that it was either a 620-calorie “indulgent” shake or a “sensible” one containing a mere 140 calories. In two different instances, the participants who consumed what they believed to be the “indulgent” shake had a significantly steeper drop in their ghrelin level, a hunger-inducing hormone, that stimulates the body’s desire to eat, than when they drank what they believed was believed to be the “sensible” shake. In other words, their hunger level was not determined by the actual number of calories they consumed. Their minds triggered their body’s appetite response!
In a third study Crum, this time with Brad Turnwald, the researchers were interested in how the mind digested the marketing of menu items to restaurant goers. They examined healthfully prepared vegetables described with adjectives like “buttery,” “caramelized” and other savory terms usually reserved for unhealthy dishes. They found diners increased their vegetable consumption by 41 percent compared to the when their descriptive keywords were health based.
So, what are today’s take-a-ways?
First, when you are working your muscles or your cardiovascular system, whether it be in the gym or at work, find your Eye of the Tiger and give it your all. Second, if eating healthy is boring or makes you feel deprived, come to the table with an attitude of excess. Your body, mind and, maybe even your soul will thank you!
One more thing. If you haven’t yet reviewed us on Google, please do. It will only take a minute. CLICK HERE
Or, if you have been away for awhile and have forgotten where we are…our address is:
10542 W. Pico Blvd., Suite A, Los Angeles, CA 90064. 310-838-9991