When we move, our heart rate increases to supply our bodies with the blood and oxygen they need to survive and thrive. Once the breathing is in sync with our movement, our brains release the feel-good hormones called endorphins in response to the activity. Our bodies were designed to move, and movement is like fertilizer for our brains.
Fertilizer stinks! But it is needed to supply nutrients essential to the growth of plants. Similarly, exercise can stink. Exercising can be hard. Exercising can be inconvenient. But our brains feed off the increased demand of the movement.
When children are learning a new movement pattern, they have to think about the movement and go slow to create a motor pattern that lights up portions of the brain with a new neural pathway. When we do something new, our brain is on high alert to survive or thrive. When we learn something new on the computer, what does our body do? Nothing. If our bodies are not in motion, it checks out, sitting with poor posture for hours. Being sharp and staying healthy and vibrant need to go both ways: mind and body.What can we do to sharpen focus and increase engagement?
While we all are capable of taking in massive amounts of information, like drinking water from a fire hydrant in a seated environment, what makes the information mentally stick? Having a sticky and fertile mind. The benefits of movement (fertilizer) give our mind space to cultivate, grow, and be sticky. On the flip side, a body that's not in motion does not want to move. This limits mental focus, growth, and learning potential. You may not run, jump, hop, skip, kick, or throw, but if you have a body, you can move more within your limits. If you desire to lead a healthier lifestyle, a small shift in mindset is required to begin your journey.The challenge is getting your body to move. I’m not talking about exercise, I’m talking about movement in general. Walk to the mailbox. Walk with the dog. Take the stairs. If you want to stay mentally sharp, feel better, and improve your attitude, go for a walk or run. If you have carved out time to strength train, do it. Your mind will be more nourished when you do some quality fertilizing.
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– Louis Allen, CSCS
Personal Trainer | Email Louis