Exercise By Imagination

Exercise by imagination; sufferers of disabilities and generally anyone who is unable for whatever reason to engage in physical activities, is now possible.

Recent research has confirmed that just by imagining you are exercising, increases strength in the muscles you are thinking of.

How you can get fit just by THINKING about exercise! Scientists say imagining yourself working out could actually make your muscles stronger.

Daily Mail.

Mind over matter, the brain alone can tone muscle.


How to Grow Stronger Without Lifting Weights.

Scientific American

It must be emphasized, before we begin, that physical exercise, the actual movement of limbs and muscle, is more beneficial than imagining the movement.

Exercise By Imagination

At 86 years young, I find that many physical activities I carried out in my younger years, are no longer possible. Muscles used in those previous activities have lost interest in doing anything.

New research has revealed that exercise for elderly people may now be much easier. Not only for the elderly, but for anyone.

It has been confirmed that just imagining exercise can slow muscles from becoming weaker with age or restricted mobility.

In some research, it has been revealed that just imagining lifting weights increased the participants’ strength by 13.5%, compared to an increase of 30% for those who did the actual weight training. Not bad. Increasing strength by just imagining doing the weight lifting. This I like.

New Scientist

New Scientist recorded that researchers from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation found research participants increased the strength in their little finger by 13.4% and other participants increased the strength of their biceps by 13.5%. All achieved by imagining exercising the relevant muscles.

Scientific American

Scientific American reported on an experiment carried out at Ohio University. Two group of volunteers had their wrists encased in surgical casts for one month. One group did no exercises, neither mentally nor physically, whilst the other group imagined exercising their immobilized wrist, 11 minutes a day, 5 days a week for a month. When the casts were removed, the groups were tested and it was found that the group who imagined exercising their wrists, had wrists twice as strong as the group who did no exercise.

How to Imagine Exercising

There are two ways we can imagine ourselves performing a task.

  1. Seeing ourselves as a third party. Similar to seeing a video of us.
  2. Seeing through our eyes. (This way, for example, we would not be able to see the back of our head.)

Research has shown that the second way produces better results.

When imagining your exercises, endeavor to use all your senses. Feel the muscles you are imagining, tensing; feel the ground or floor under you; feel the weights or resistance.

Become emotionally involved.

How to Visualize

If you are not familiar with visualization, you might like to check out my post on this subject.

Mental Relaxation

Although mental relaxation has not been mentioned in any of the articles regarding mental imagery exercise that I have accessed, I believe it is an important part of your preparation for the exercises. Not essential, but I certainly include it in my mental exercise routine.

If you elect not to include a mental relaxation technique in your preparation, I strongly recommend you relax as much as you can, both physically and mentally.

Physical Exercises

I would guess there are many physical exercises that you have carried out over the years, or if not, you have seen others conducting exercises. Push ups, knee bends, running on the spot, lifting weights, and the list goes on. Nowadays gyms have special equipment installed for members to use.

If you have no exercises you can visualize, you may be able to attend a gym and view some of the activity there. If you see something you like, take it in visually, and use it later as an imagined exercise.

You may find it easier to attend a sports store, view their displays, pick up some dumbbells, or other pieces of exercise equipment and make yourself familiar with them.


Another way, is viewing exercise videos online. There are many videos on YouTube that will give you ideas for your visual exercises.

If you see an exercise you like, take it in, view it as many times as you like, then use it as one of your imaginary exercises.

Your brain cannot pick the difference between a real and a vividly imagined incident.


Do you have any favorite exercises you would like to share. Please let us know below.

I am sure we would all love to hear of the positive results you experience. Let us hear from you.

Please follow and share; you may add years to a friend's life.


  1. Hello Jim, this is rather very interesting as a concept and it seems very new to me to discover. Psychological exercise that has real exercise influence on the body! That’s simply amazing. Getting to read so much about this especially being the fact that it is meant for only the elders majorly. This is great and surely, I would suggest this to my dad. He has become way too old for exercises and as such, this could be a good way to get him back to fitness.

    • Hi Roland, thanks for your kind comment. Let your dad know that a favourite affirmation of mine is “I have the body of a healthy 35 year old man.” It always gives me a bit of a lift.

  2. Hello sir Jim. Its good to see that you’re out here trying ti help people get in good shape. I didn’t know about this concept of thinking the exercise. I must confess, it’s not a bad idea at all but I feel it has to be specific to the seniors because if the young lads out there find out about the benefits of this one, everyone can as well sit in their houses and keep up with thinking about exercising. This is very good help here and I really love this post. Nice one Jim!

    • Thank you for your comment John. I had a laugh when I thought of the ‘young lads’ sitting in their houses thinking about exercising. You are right, of course. Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that.

  3. Oh my Mom would love this. She is very laxyywhen it comes to exercises and seeing that this can really be of great help to her makes it very perfect for someone like her. She can exercise without moving her body, all she needs to do is just to imagine it and get it over with. Thanks for giving the breakdown of how it works and how to maximize it. This is a beautiful discovery and I’m sure it would help quite a lot of people. Thanks so much and i will gladly share this out to people

    • Thanks Mattias. Your Mom sounds a lot like me. Because of my age and various injuries suffered over the years, I am restricted in what exercises I can do, so, doing mental exercises helps me stay in reasonable condition. I hope your Mom joins me in these exercises.

  4. This is a really enlightening review I must confess and this researches and scientific discoveries are really interesting and motivating when physical health is been discussed. One can actually exercise his or her body parts by just imagining … Just by imagining you are exercising,and increasing strength in the muscles you are thinking of. These exercises listed here are really great scientific developments that would help strengthen elders of this present world. Thanks for this helpful review 

    • Thanks for your comment Willy. Of course, as indicated, the mental exercises do not equal the improvements that doing the actual physical exercises do, but for those restricted in their movements, for whatever reason, there is a chance to stay reasonably fit, just by using the imagination.

  5. It is interesting to know that just thinking about exercise makes you energetic. I think I agree with the findings as I have found myself pumped up just for thinking about exercising. I like to see myself as a third party, always seeing a toned body of me gets me more energized and actually looking forward to the real physical exercise.

    This is quite an interesting article with mind-boggling scientific facts. Thank you so much for taking your time  to give us these great insights and how to go about visualizing ourselves.

    Great article!

    • Thanks for your comments Carol. Apart from seeing yourself as a ‘toned body’, you can also visualise yourself doing your physical exercises and enjoying yourself whilst doing them. This may get you more enthused about doing the real thing. Go for it. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *