Your Brain on Fitness

The Fitness Brain

It’s the New Year, and we all know what that means- it’s a time for fresh energy and new ways of living. It’s easy right? As soon as that calendar flipped pages, the lightning bolts of new ideas and energy just hit, right?!

Actually that’s not how it really works, as you likely already know. Habits, ideas, changes… all of these things require a balance of inspiration, drive and energy to make things actually happen.  And at this time of year with shorter, darker days, the push is even harder.

For example- have you been struggling with formulating your new business idea, writing that important blog post or creating a theme for your next work event? Or maybe you’re an artist who needs some new ideas for your art, but they just don’t seem to be coming.

Sometimes, creative juices need help to get moving. It is said that 20 minutes of aerobic exercise can help get those juices flowing- just what you need to ignite the energy and make your ideas a reality.

Rebounding is a great solution for those of us who want to stay moving despite having the winter blues or lacking energy overall. It’s obvious that movement creates energy- we can see that in children and we can feel it when we take a brisk walk. And, the effects on higher brain function have been published in many scientific papers as well:

“The neurobiological effects of physical exercise are numerous and involve a wide range of interrelated neuropsychological changes. A large body of research in humans has demonstrated that consistent aerobic exercise (e.g., 30 minutes every day) induces persistent beneficial behavioral and neural plasticity as well as healthy alterations in gene expression in the brain; some of these long-term effects include: increased neuron growth, increased neurological activity, improved stress coping, enhanced cognitive control over behaviour, improved declarative and working memory, and structural and functional improvements in brain structures and pathways associated with cognitive control and memory. People who regularly participate in aerobic exercise have greater scores on neuropsychological function and performance tests. Aerobic exercise is also a potent long-term antidepressant and a short-term euphoriant”

Some of the most innovate thinkers in History knew that moving around got the creativity going. For example, Richard Branson runs every morning, and composers Beethoven and Tchaikovsky both walked daily. Each of them spoke openly about feeling more creative after exercising. An exercise-fueled brainstorming session will even continue after your workout ends. A 2005 study, published in Creativity Research Journal, confirmed that “aerobic exercise significantly impacted the creative processes” and that the “effects were shown to endure over a two hour period.”

Many people use coffee as a substitute for energy, even as a way of helping them muscle their way through the day’s work. After all, as a stimulant it enervates the central nervous system while adding a wired feeling to the body. However with excess amounts of caffeine consumption over time, the body will start to experience a wide range of health effects such as dehydration. Caffeine intake results in an increase in urination so it may cause dehydration, according to the American Heart Association. And long-term dehydration will impact overall health in many ways. And ironically it will sap a person’s energy level and decrease functionality of organs. And when consumed in excess, coffee speeds up the heart. A long-term effect of caffeine may be damage to the heart due to its accelerated pace and inability to function normally. When a heart beats at a faster pace than normal, it taxes and tires the entire body.

Exercise instead has only positive short and long term effects:

  • weight control
  • diabetes and disease control
  • improves moods and energy levels
  • boosts energy
  • better sleep
  • increases overall energy (and creativity!) levels
  • it’s fun!

What are the goals that you want to reach this year, and how do you plan to energize yourself towards them? Are you going to take steps to make them happen, and if so- will they be healthy ones? What tools will you need to stay healthy while you make 2016 a productive year? How will you make exercising easy, fun and possible this year?

These are all questions that we think are important to ask yourself at this of year, when the time to gain creative momentum starts. Rebounding is by far one of the most convenient and fun ways to stay energized and keep your brain in shape!