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Thesis

The effects of mental imagery and progressive muscle relaxation on the performance of distance running

1 May 1993

Abstract

Conclusions as to the effectiveness of mental imagery on physical performance are somewhat controversial. In general, however, there seems to be consensus that mental imagery can positively affect skilled motor performance when practice conditions are optimal. In this study, seventeen subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups: running only (RO) or running in combination with mental imagery and progressive muscle relaxation (MI). The ten subjects in the MI group participated in a one hour mental imagery and progressive muscle relaxation training session and were given a tape to utilize during the four week study period. All subjects ran their own course at a self selected pace for 30 minutes four times per week. Heart rate and perceived level of exertion were recorded for pre and post-test measurements. Results suggest that mental imagery and progressive muscle relaxation in combination with running may produce a lower exercise heart rate than running only (p=.08). The level of significance was accepted at p < .05. Ideas for future research are discussed.


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