Have you ever taken an indoor cycling class where your mind starts to aimlessly wander? Some of our best ideas come to us while we’re supposed to be paying attention to the cadence or what our instructor is telling us. But, according to a new study, that mind wandering may actually be helping your workout.
Letting Your Mind Wander May Help Your Workout
We’ve all been there: You applaud yourself for visiting the gym to make strides on exercise, but you end up feeling bored in just 5 minutes. Staring at a white wall isn’t exactly motivation to sweat harder. And while the idea of focusing on something other than your pace might seem a bit nuts, recent research shows that multitasking during certain types of exercise can do wonders for your mind—and for your workout.
In a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, University of Florida researchers had a group of older male and female participants cycle in a quiet room while performing 12 different cognitive tasks which included saying “go” whenever a blue star appeared on a screen, naming different colors, memorizing patterns on tic-tac-toe boards, repeating long lists of numbers backward, and solving math problems. Aside from the hardest task—the math problem—the participants actually improved their thinking and cycled 25% faster once they completed the easier tasks.
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