Mental Imagery: thinking about movement is a useful rehabilitation tool

Produced on behalf of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences by Dr Tadhg MacIntyre, Prof Aidan Moran, Prof Christian Collet, Prof Aymeric Guillot, Dr Mark Campbell, Dr James Matthews, Prof Craig Mahoney FBASES and Jim Lowher

Mental imagery is a popular cognitive simulation technique defined as “a symbolic sensory experience that may occur in any sensory mode” (Hardy et al., 1996, p.28). One of its key applications is in mental practice (also known as ‘motor imagery’) or the systematic use of mental imagery to rehearse skills covertly, without executing the movements involved. Having evaluated the efficacy of mental practice in laboratory settings, imagery researchers have gradually turned to sport (MacIntyre et al., 2013), exercise (Thøgersen-Ntoumani et al., 2012) and rehabilitation Grangeon et al., 2012) contexts. Arising from these studies, a significant evidencebase has accumulated on imagery mechanisms and applications (Guillot & Collet, 2010). The present paper provides an expert statement on optimal imagery use in sport, exercise and rehabilitation encompassing the evidence from different contexts.

Categories Health Fitness and well-being

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