One of the fun things about being a writer is running across fascinating information. In an article on cognitive science, I read that observing others performing an action fires off the exact same neurons in the observer’s brain.
I guess that explains couch potatoes who watch hours of football. They aren’t as lazy as they appear. In their minds they’ve actually played the game. All the same neurons were firing in their brains as were firing in the brains of the players on the field. No wonder viewers are so exhausted at the end of playoff weekend. And it explains why people pay big bucks to go to sports events or stay glued to the TV during the Olympics–they’re actually performing all those feats in their minds.
So that leads to an important question: If neurons do the same work in observers’ brains, couldn’t this idea work well for weight loss and fitness? If I watch hours of exercise videos, will my body soon look like that of the trainers’? Surely someone can figure out the optimum number of hours I’d need to watch to lose, say, twenty pounds. My brain would feel as if I’d done all that strenuous exercise and would trigger the fat-burning processes that go with it. It seems logical that my body would automatically burn the same number of calories as the trainers’ if my mind is doing the same work.