That’s what our yoga instructor would say to us as we gritted our teeth while trying to get into a particularly challenging pose.
Smile?! Who can even think of something like that at the time like this, I used to think.
However, it turns out that she was right.
A recent study by British researchers found that runners of all levels perform better if they smile. It all has to do with the way our brain works, the researchers say. The smile tricks our minds into thinking that we are putting less effort into the exercise; consequently, the exercise gets easier; as the upshot, we are more likely to progress.
If it works for running, it’s bound to work for other types of exercise too! Fitness trainers know from experience that facial expression matters. Some of them go so far as to say that if you are not smiling during your workout, you’re doing it wrong.
Turns out, all those images of people smiling while brandishing dumbbells, riding stationary bikes, pirouetting with an exercise ball, or holding a demanding yoga pose on a mat are more than mere publicity shots. They are also an invitation to join in the (perceived) fun!
Smiling helps you enjoy the process. It eases the tension and relaxes the muscles. Even if you have to force that smile, slap it on and watch yourself progress from pain to gain faster than you thought possible. There’s only one step from pretending to enjoy it to really enjoying it. And your workout will give you the results and the progress you want only if you enjoy it. It’s that simple!