Exercise: The Escape from Reality

By: ERIN RACHEL DOPPELT

Sweat drips from the tip of my nose, hits my upper left thigh and cascades down past my knee and shin until it becomes absorbed into my sock. I do not notice because I am too busy accepting my first Oscar trophy in Hollywood. Smiling and waving at the audience below me, I accept the award and thank my family and friends for supporting my career thus far and blow a kiss to my millions of fans whose noses are pressed against the television screens. “Gear up, out in third!” screams my favorite spin instructor, and immediately I am yanked off my stage, pulled out of Hollywood, and find myself sitting on a stationary bike in Chicago, sprinting 130 rpm (revolutions per minute) and sweating bullets.

Daydreaming provides an escape from ordinary life. You can be whomever you want, wherever you want and with anyone you could ever possibly want to be with. The result, in most cases, is an adrenaline rush. The heart rate increases and performance enhances. A sprint appears shorter and lifting a heavy weight feels lighter. Next time you are on the dreaded treadmill or tired of the repetitions of lap swimming, daydream.

Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, is a neurotransmitter and a hormone. When it’s released, our heart rate increases, blood vessels constrict and air passages dilate, allowing rapid breathing and oxygen to travel quickly through the body. Picture an exciting moment or an event where you exceed all other expectations, use that “happy” feeling to reach the finish line.

Daydreaming usually circulates around the events you want to happen in your life, and the goals you want to achieve. According to Conscious Life Skills, a professional coaching and counseling company, when you daydream of success, you create intent to succeed. The thought precedes the action. Encouraging daydreaming helps ordinary people reach their dreams. Energy-deprived runners who dream of finishing a marathon should visualize the finish line during a race. This will trigger adrenaline and help the runner sprint toward the finish line.

The idea I want to over exaggerate: Use daydreaming to initiate adrenaline boosts to benefit your workout. Visualizing is one outlet to enhance athletic performance. Paula Barg, Pilates instructor says, “I daydream about future events and how I want to feel the best I can at that event. During holding exercises, such as planks, I tell my clients to hold a strong pose as if someone were to crawl under them or walk across them.” This visual makes the plank exercise go by more quickly.

Other ways to increase adrenaline can be risky like speed racing, skydiving, or confronting your fears. Some more subtle ideas are listening to music, playing computer games and sporting competitions. Pamela Hochwert, distance runner, says, “Motivational music helps give me the adrenaline I need to finish a long run.”

As a spin instructor I use both Barg’s and Hochwert’s strategies. Imagination and a stimulus, such as music, will ignite adrenaline. A favorite song of mine, Heard Of The World by OAR (It’s an epic song, download it ASAP), paired with my loud, screaming voice gets my clientele to the end of the class, or the finish line, breathless. “You are almost at the finish line! Break away from the pack! Win! GO! GO! GO!” The song hits the hardest part of the spinning class at the chorus, my clients are breathless spinning faster, and I encourage them to compete with their neighbors. Adrenaline pumps through their veins giving their muscles the chemical needed to finish strong. Heart rate peaks and the average person burns 33 percent more calories and fat due to the adrenaline sprint.

My Oscar winning vision helps me condition my body to use adrenaline in an anaerobic sprint. I am breathless, burning 1/3 calories more than an endurance ride and shaking Ryan Goslings hand as he hands me my award. Participate in an exercise that whisks you away from reality.

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2 Comments on “Exercise: The Escape from Reality”

  1. January 23, 2012 at 12:14 am #

    Loved this! I do the same thing on my long runs; I see myself winning an Olympic goal medal and I love every second of it. Thanks for giving us another reason to exercise.
    Sara from http://www.losingtogether.com

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  1. Exercise: The Escape from Reality « the Change Samurai's Blog - January 22, 2012

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