Health & Wellness

Totally into this: You can get fitter by watching people work out (kinda)

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The next time you don’t feel like hopping on the treadmill, just turn on Dancing with the Stars.

According to a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Autonomic Neuroscience, the act of simply watching someone exercise or participate in a sport—or any type of physical activity—parks an increase in the muscle sympathetic nerve.

So what does that mean?

As reported by Yahoo News, nine volunteers were asked to sit in a relaxed environment and shown a still image of the great outdoors, followed by a video of a person jogging. And while the volunteers did not move a muscle during the experiment, their heart rates, respiration and skin blood flow increased during the exercise footage.

In other words, even though the reaction stemmed from the mind, it resulted in a physiological reaction.

The downside to this study—some people will make the excuse that watching a Rocky marathon is their new favorite workout regime. Well, it doesn’t really work like that. Though watching Rocky might result in a minor/kinda/sorta workout , there’s no debating the importance of real exercise?

The upside, however, is that we have received further validation of our brain’s incredible capabilities. It reminds me of a saying from Dr. Denis Waitley, an author and lecturer who teaches about high performance achievement: “If you go there in the mind, you’ll go there in the body.”

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.