Anytime you’re working out, there’s physical exertion involved, but your perceived exertion is different. That’s the mental reading that can’t be measured on a Fitbit, but can affect how hard you feel like you’re working. And the key to being able to keep your sweat sesh going longer and feeling happier while you do it is tweaking this perception. This is how you make your workout feel easier.
- Bump up the tunes - You already know that music can help you power through exercise and science backs that up. Research shows the right tunes can make a treadmill run feel 10 to 12% easier and according to another study, music helped exercisers work 4% harder in an HIIT workout without feeling it.
- Catch a buzz - But from caffeine, not booze. Physiologist Adriano Eduardo Lima-Silva explains that caffeine increases brain excitability and lowers the rate of perceived exertion, so it can help your workout feel easier.
- Take it outside - Exercising outdoors can decrease your rate of perceived exertion as well because it provides distractions, plus you’ll get all the health benefits of being in nature.
- Don't forget to cool down - It’s an important part of the process and one study found those who ran on a treadmill at different speeds for a half hour decided how difficult it was based on how they felt at the end, instead of during the toughest part.