Mind over matter? Alex Hutchinson explains the role of the brain when it comes to the limits of human endurance

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Once, we believed that the body was a machine, and the secret to optimal performance came from the muscles, the lungs, the heart. Then, they told us that everything is in our head, and that we only have to overcome the pain. The truth is that "the brain and the body are fundamentally intertwined," writes Alex Hutchinson, a sports journalist (with a Ph.D. in physics) who competed for the Canadian national team as a runner. To understand the limits of the human body, you must consider them together.
Hutchinson is the author of Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, this month of HarperCollins. In the eight years he worked in the book, he traveled to laboratories around the world and spoke to hundreds …

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