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Mental muscles

  1. Aug 12, 2005 #1
    I *think* I remember hearing something about a study that showed just thinking about working out was able to increase muscle mass.. was this true?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2005 #2


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    Legend :biggrin:
  4. Sep 5, 2005 #3
    somasimple has to be right, I'm thinking it is a load of bologna.

    Now thinking improves your mental muscle, the more thinking you do the smarter you are. Whatever muscle you work on is what you improve. By pumping your biceps you're not going to increase your cavs.

    Now it is true that the mind has amazing power over the body, and changes it physically. This may be the case in things like the placebo effect, or hypocondriacs (who think they are sick so they become sick). Maybe they thought this was the same way, if you can think yourself sick/healthy why not be able to think yourself strong? But I haven't heard of any studies that confirmed this, (not denying them but I haven't seen them).

    I'm thinking that the answer is no because when you build a muscle, you have to physically strain it so the tissues "tear" so to speak (this is how I learned it anyway) so when they regrow they regrow stronger. This must be physically done, as chemicals/hormones or qi or whatever doubtfully would cause the muscles to tear like they would cause symptoms to manifest or not.
  5. Sep 5, 2005 #4


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    This sort of applies:

    There was an experament conducted (I'm not sire where) where they tested three different groups to see how much weight they lost.

    Group#1 had to exercise and eat right everyday throughout the experament.
    Group#2 Had to *think* about working out, eating right, and losing weight for 45 minutes every day of the experament.,
    Group#3 did no physical labor at all

    turns out that group#2 lost more weight then #1 or #3
  6. Sep 5, 2005 #5
    well, stuff like steroids make you temporaraly faster, or gives you more stamina. as you said earlier, hormones and chemicals effect various things, though i would doubt anything long term, not without actual excersice aswell...

    why in that experiment did they not try thinking then excersising???

    oh, and that quote cracks me up, what book is it from???
  7. Sep 5, 2005 #6


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    That is another question. The power of conviction is known (as said) as placebo/nocebo. Some sportmen have the ability to exercise virtually (activate the motor centres) their muscles but neophytes can't. (but muscle volume doesn't change)
  8. Sep 6, 2005 #7
    There might be some correlation between sitting around thinking all the time and building mass (via a gut), but *muscle* mass? It seems only logical that for a muscle to build you would need to actually be using the muscles in question, and in fact, they only build because they "push" against resistance supplied by things such as objects or gravity (hence, why you see weight trainers with bigger muscles on average than people who don't train with weights). If gravity wasn't there for example, and you could still think would you be "able" to even build muscle without some form of resistance demanding it? This is why astronauts can't stay out in space for very long periods of time at the present (my limited understanding is that they undergo some sort of muscular atrophy because with gravity absent the body stops building basic muscles because it no longer "feels" the need to). I myself have been sick in periods of my life and bedridden only to wake up a few weeks later feeling ultra weak.

    Either way I am skeptical of so called "scientific studies" which make such sensational claims and yet provide no physiological mechanism for us to observe and verify that such a process can actually take place at the molecular level.
  9. Sep 8, 2005 #8
    Mental gridlock it would be grand if you could give us an idea of where you might have read that was it sciam? I suspect it's probably so, personally I've noticed if I don't mediate 2 or 3 times a week to give my life some direction I'll spend an extra 6 hrs. a week playing less rewarding games than say running... it seems like too minor a thing as if we couldn't possibly be that suggestible, but then look at all the commercials that have convinced people they "stink" if they don't go out and buy this brand of soap and shower each day.
  10. Sep 12, 2005 #9
    Read what?
  11. Sep 15, 2005 #10
    Sorry, I mean't Yomamma, oh well.
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