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Any motivation to get yourself to work out is good, right? How about if that exercise inspiration comes from thinking about death? If you’re into that sort of thing, then you’re in luck. Because a study from the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology claims that thinking about your mortality will help you exercise better. So start contemplating your own death and get yourself to the gym!

To be fit, or not to be fit, that is the question. Well, at least that was the question that athletes at the University of Arizona were made to consider. According to the study, students scored more points in basketball when they were either asked questions about death or given subtle reminders of death.

We doubt any prompts — death-related or not — could make us excel at playing basketball. And so you may be skeptical about how death = better fitness. But there is a way to apply this counterintuitive discovery to your own workouts — we promise.

This study for the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity uses terror management theory (TMT) to explain why athletes did better when asked about death.

Aha! It’s actually your self-esteem that’s getting a boost.

Lifshin went on to explain:

So, how do can apply this theory to your everyday workout?

If you think about death when you’re doing an exercise that generally makes you feel good, your body may naturally improve your performance. Or, if you’re struggling to get your butt off the couch, think about dying. And you just may find yourself subconsciously getting motivated to work out in order to fight off that impending sense of dread. Hoorah for the mysterious mind-body connection!

Next time you’re working out, give it a shot. And hopefully all of those morbid thoughts will lead to a satisfying workout.