How Our Brains Extend Athletic Endurance
The science behind our greatest athletic feats has a lot to do with the brain.
An essay published in the Wall Street Journal explores how our brains make outlandish athletic feats possible. Science has proven over the last century that the physical limits of our bodies inform whether or not we can go on, but are not absolute. The simple way of saying this is that changing your perceptions of your own body’s limits can elevate your performance. In the Olympics, where the margin of error is minuscule, the implications for all new research on the topic of body performance are incredible. Champion marathoner Eliud Kipchoge starts smiling toward the end of his races because, as he said, “you can trigger the mind to feel your legs.” Taking this science to a crazy extreme, some US Olympic teams have experimented with running an electrical current on the scalp, which has the effect of giving the brain a lower sense of effort.
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