The Science of Mental Imagery

I love it when science becomes outdated, due to new research.

Scientists used to believe that our brains developed until a certain age, and then came an inevitable, gradual decline with our later years. They thought our brains stopped growing and changing. Not true, and now we know better with real scientific evidence.

We can always adapt, change, respond – and improve our current status.

It’s called neuroplasticity.

Our brain uses complex, overlapping neural pathways and maps, and these maps are directly influenced by how we live, how we move, and the way we think. Yes, that’s right. Our thought patterns and beliefs actually help create our physical brain matter.

You may have heard this saying already, “what fires together wires together.”

This means that the new activity we give the mind and brain creates actual ‘new wiring’ or neural pathways. Our brain can change – and it’s constantly learning from us.
So why does mental imagery matter for us as athletes or runners?

This fact forever fascinates me: When we practice mental imagery, the brain doesn’t know it’s ‘pretend’.

For example, if you vividly imagine lifting your arm up and lowering it down, your brain is going to fire in nearly the identical way as if you were actually moving your arm. Even thought you’re not physically moving, just imagining it – the brain maps ‘light up’ and those neural pathways are strengthened by this practice.

So, science now has a wealth of evidence that proves imagery isn’t a fluff strategy or feel good hope-filled waste of time. It’s different than a placebo and can bring measurable, tangible results.

Our mind, brain and body make a powerful team.

We can influence them all by using imagery well.

And combined with proactive practice – in motion, using the Franklin Method can make us feel unstoppable.

Some clients of mine have exclaimed that using imagery feels like magic. They quickly experience less tension, better flexibility, more fluidity, spring and force absorption, more stability, deeper power in their squats…and on and on. The magic I teach is called the Franklin Method, a mindbody approach to movement education, using imagery.

If you have specific questions about an issue or injury, reach out to me here.

Here’s to your fabulous brain,

Cheri

PS: Transform your run with mindbody power by taking the full online course, Runner’s Tune Up. We’ll be opening for enrollment again soon.

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