If you’ve been finding it hard to pump up the intensity of your workouts lately, we hear you. Listening to fast-paced music and lying to yourself (“I’m only running for 10 minutes, that’s it”) may work once or twice, but you’re probably smart enough to see through your own ruses. Instead of trying to trick yourself into longer runs and heavier bench presses, do what magicians do and distract your brain.
“Dissociation involves directing someone’s attention away from bodily sensations like pain and fatigue,” says MK Huffman, a Ph.D. candidate in Purdue University’s exercise psychology program. “This may increase their levels of fun and enjoyment of the activity.”
This is why people listen to music, audiobooks, or podcasts when working out. But pushing play on something can only take you so far. If you want to go even further, you may have to make your workout a bit more social by letting someone else do the distracting for you.
Excerpted from Popular Science