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Honesty Can Make You Healthier

Why you shouldn't lie to your trainer

Every athlete knows that education is a crucial part of performance. Sport and exercise research, insight from top trainers, science, and technology help you to better understand your body so you can craft a healthier lifestyle, workouts, and recovery plan.

In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness research, nutrition, style, and health stories.


THE SCIENCE
A recent study from the University of Notre Dame found that when people gave up lying for 10 weeks, they felt less tense, more upbeat, and experienced fewer physical ailments like sore throats and headaches.
EXPERT INSIGHT
Lying to yourself and others often comes with guilt and that feeling that you need to hide something. This tends to be associated with negative health outcomes, says Stacey Doan, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Claremont McKenna College in California who studies how the mind influences physical health. "Research demonstrates that guilt and stress from telling lies is linked to a depressed mood, lower well-being, lower life satisfaction, and fewer positive emotions," she explains. Most of these health hazards are likely tied to the overactive sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response) triggered when you lie and feel badly about it afterwards. That's why chronic falsifying of the truth is likely to be more harmful than a one-off fib or white lie, because prolonged stress causes physiological wear and tear on the body, she adds.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you feel guilty about a past lie, making amends is what matters, notes Doan. Find a confidante with whom you can unburden. Or keep a journal to get things off your chest.