In a small study, researchers looked at what happened when a group of people did a demanding mental task for 90 minutes or loafed around watching a documentary before a workout on a stationary bike. When people did the mental workout, they called it quits sooner on the bike and thought their workouts were harder—even when their response to exercise was the same (nothing about their bodies indicated that they had worked harder or were more fatigued). In other words, when they tired out their minds, they thought their bodies were wiped out too. The "why" is not clear, but we do know that the exhaustion isn't from the rational mind, it's from the emotional, reptilian one. (That reptilian one messes with your finances, too, but that's another tip.) In the meantime, it's proof of how persuasive the reptilian brain can be.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't work out after a tough day—in fact, that's when you may need a workout the most. But if you think you want to bail early, ask yourself which part of you is saying: "Hey, can we stop now? Pleeease?" Your legs, lungs or core might be fresher than you think. So use your rational mind to control your reptilian brain and to keep you working out—and keep you younger—longer.
For more from the YOU Docs, visit RealAge.com.
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