Working Out Is Easier If You Tell Yourself You Like It

Does lying to yourself work? Surprisingly, yes. According to American researchers, if you tell yourself that you really like working out, you’ll find it easier to get started and end up doing it more. Yes, even if you hate it.

Researchers at the University of Colorado recruited 98 adult participants and had them run on a treadmill for 30 minutes “near their ventilatory threshold”, which just means at a pace that put them out of breath. One third of the participants were lied to. Specifically, they were told that thirty minutes of running at a breathless pace would leave them feeling “refreshed and relaxed”. We suspect that these researchers were being jerks in the name of science.

Anyway. During the second half of the study, participants had to follow the same running routine for a week. Researchers found that the people who were lied to ended up feeling more positive about their workouts and remembered them as less tiring. They also tended to run more than their non-lied-to fellow participants.

So what gives? It seems like this is a case of priming. That is, because some participants were told they’d like running for a painful thirty minutes, it became more likely that they actually would like it. Alternatively, this could be a case of easily manipulated human memory. That is, the workout was painful, but some participants remember it as less painful because they were told to think of it that way.

So go workout. You’ll like it, trust us.


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