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Can Talking To Yourself Boost Athletic Performance?

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Forget reading every single motivational poster at the race. All it takes to set a new personal best is a few kind words to yourself.

According to a small new study, a little motivational self-talk makes a big difference when it comes to increasing endurance and reducing perceived levels of exhaustion.

In the study, 24 people completed two cycling tests. The first time around, they were asked to pedal at 80 percent of their "peak power output" for as long as they could stand it. Then they had two weeks off, during which one group of cyclists were given some specific training in strategic self-talk. At the second test, those participants used their new cheerleading skills, and significantly lengthened their time on the bike. Plus, they reported feeling like they weren't working as hard, according to the study, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Mantras have long been deemed an effective sports psychology tool, Runner's World points out, but this study is the first to show the direct link between repeating one and pushing through.

So go ahead, talk to yourself on the treadmill or in the saddle. Just make sure to be nice.

Here are a few kind words to get you started. Tell us your go-to mantra in the comments below!

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