Exercise can transform your brain. Have you ever considered this before?
Did you know that exercise can:
Exercise Can Transform Your Brain
Did you already know that exercise was such a superpower?
Do you know why?
Here is how exercise affects the brain and why it is so powerful. Exercise:
Come to Our SENSES
In my series of articles on creating a more beautiful brain, I wrote about the importance of starting your mind makeover by first Coming to Our Senses for better brain health.
I am using the acronym SENSES (Sleep, Exercise, Nutrition, Stress Management, eliminating toxins, and Self Care) to discuss the foundations for creating a more beautiful brain.
As you scan over the categories, you will see that they are common sense.
But what we must realize is that our common senses do not automatically translate into common actions.
Today’s topic of exercise is a perfect example of that.
It’s common sense and common knowledge that exercise is good for our brain, right?
And I suspect every neuroscientist and brain health guru on the planet believes that exercise is critical for having a healthier brain.
Wendy Suzuki, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the New York University Center for Neural Science, tells us about the superpower of exercise: “Exercise is the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today.”
Let that sink in…
“Exercise is the most transformative thing we can do for our brain today!”
And if that doesn’t get your attention, then consider what American neurosurgeon, Dr. Sanjay Gupta proclaims, “Exercise is the only thing we’ve scientifically documented to improve brain health and function.”
We Should but We Don’t
So, why then is it that more than half of us are not getting enough exercise? In fact, a recent study by the CDC found that 4 out of 5 Americans are not getting enough exercise.
Although we all know ‘we should exercise’ many of us often fall short. With the current recommended exercise of about 150 minutes a week, it seems like we could do better; don’t you think?
People, why the heck aren’t we lining up to sign up at the gym? Why aren’t we lifting weights, taking step classes, or attending the cardio extreme sessions?
Because some of us hate to exercise! In fact, some of us would rather get a root canal than go to yet another one of those 45-minute, heart-pounding, sweat-inducing, body pump classes! Am I right?
So, if the philosophy of ‘no pain… no gain’ just doesn’t appeal to us or inspire us, what then shall we non-exercisers do?
Well, rather than throwing in the ‘sweaty towel’, why don’t we consider a new paradigm for thinking about acquiring more fitness for our brain?
Adopt a New Exercise Attitude
Let’s begin by doing an exorcism on the word ‘exercise’ and adopt a new attitude.
There are, in fact, many brain-healthy people out there that don’t ‘work out’.
In Dan Buettner’s book, The Blue Zones, he writes about his research on the healthiest communities in the world. He found seven populations of people that lived longer and were healthier than others. And guess what? The Blue Zone populations didn’t have gym memberships.
In fact, they rarely refer to the term ‘exercise’. They simply integrate movement as they perform their daily activities.
Movement throughout the day is their way of life.
That should really come as no surprise to us. It wasn’t that long ago that most of ‘our people’ used to live their lives like that as well.
In 1968 Kenneth Cooper published the book Aerobics, which created a desire among the general population to take part in regular exercise. That was when gyms, fad diets and exercise workout routines began popping up left and right and a new craze was born.
The truth is that as much as the marketers would like us to ‘buy’ in, going somewhere to do our daily workouts just isn’t working out for most of us.
I love this YouTube video with Darryl Edwards (fitness explorer) as he discusses how changing our attitude and vocabulary about exercise is a ‘game’ changer.
Why Working Out Isn’t Working Out | Darryl Edwards | TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells – YouTube
Move Instead of Exercise
Let’s start replacing the word ‘exercise’ with the word ‘movement’.
If we want to have a better brain, a clearer focus and improved memory then our goal is to move more! That’s it… that is what God made our bodies to do. Move. (And frankly, I don’t think He envisioned Eve in the garden doing cardio kick boxing! No judgment, of course, on those of you who do cardio kick boxing.)
So, let’s look at some basics for incorporating more movement into our lives:
Start with the math:
M+M is than M*2
Movement becomes synergistic and compounded. The more we move, the more we want to move and the better our Brain Health becomes – which then energizes us to move more!
15 Tips to Get Moving More
As always, consult your medical provider before making any changes to your exercise and/or movement routine.