How “Cognitive Reappraisal” May Solve Your Workout Woes

Exploring Intensity

How “Cognitive Reappraisal” May Solve Your Workout Woes

Every time you headed to the gym, instead of going to get rid of those love handles or hit a workout goal you wish you hadn’t made in the first place, imagine you were going because you needed to study how the body reacts after 90 minutes on a treadmill.

In other words, you weren’t working out because you needed to be healthier; you were there because your work demanded it, for science or journalism or something. Do you think that would make anything better?

According to a new study, that is exactly what would happen.

It’s because of something called cognitive reappraisal, which essentially means that you look at a situation more neutrally. Instead of feeling like you are doing the activity to help you personally, detach yourself somewhat like this is something you are more doing just to see how it works.

It’s kind of a convoluted, hard-to-describe mindset, but it supposedly works for a lot of things, according to this article:

Researchers have already suggested a wide variety of uses for cognitive reappraisal: It can be a handy tool in things like getting over an ex, combating stage fright, and turning down your self-doubt. In each of these contexts, the underlying principle is the same: Don’t try to push things out of your mind; instead, leave them front and center, and examine them critically. The key is to observe without emotionally reacting.

The workout study was pretty small and we are still fairly skeptical this is something that would work for us, but on those days when dragging ourselves towards the treadmills seems especially difficult, we’ll give anything a shot.

-Shane M.