I recently read a study that looked at the effects of simultaneously training your brain and body. The study saw a group of soldiers train 3 times a week on stationary bikes. One group completed cognitive tasks while training. In contrast, the second group simply worked through the session as any of us would.
At the end of a 12 week training plan the results were pretty outstanding. The control group, improved their time to exhaustion by 48% on average. This is a great improvement and one that would generally have anyone feeling happy about their progress. However, the group who completed cognitive tasks saw their scores improve by a whopping 126% on average!
That it is approximately 3 times more than the control group!
Take Your Mind Away from The Pain
So why such a big improvement? The study used time to exhaustion as a measure of performance. Those completing tasks throughout training were able to remove their focus on their perceived effort. When it was time to re-test they had a lower perceived effort when working at high intensities.
They trained their brains to tolerate the effort required.
Train Your Brain
I actually tried this – a massive sample size of 1. However, Whilst completing a 45 minute endurance task while completing a cognitive task completely removed me from the effort I was putting in. As a result, when the task was complete, I was able to continue at the set pace.
I am often Personal Training in Richmond Park, whilst there I see so many people out running. 90% of people have headphones in, if this is you, I want you to try something. Download a verbal app that makes you think, challenges your thought and focus. Complete your normal weeks training with the app and compare your results to a week without!