Love Your Brain – Part 2: Move
After Part 1 of the “Love Your brain” series dedicated to NOURISH, let’s talk about MOVE. Whether or not you love physical activity, you should include it in your daily life.
We as human beings are supposed to move, and our body and brain can benefit tremendously. In today’s society, we find ourselves seated in front of a computer for many hours, and we tend to replace walks and activities in our spare time with binge-watching our favorite shows or checking social media updates and notifications while lounging on a couch. These habits are negatively impacting our health, and we need to reverse them as soon as possible.
So, going back to the benefits of exercise … I spoke about them in this blog post a while ago, and there’s more to consider. We all know that regular exercise is good for our muscles, bones, and skin. It can help with weight loss, it increases energy, and it makes our immune system stronger. But let’s take a closer look at how exercise affects our brain.
The role of neurotransmitters
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that regulate the transmission of messages between nerve cells in our brain. Each chemical has a specific role: it can be excitatory or inhibitory, it can speed up or calm down certain processes.
Neurotransmitters are affected mostly by diet, physical activity, and the circadian rhythm (which will be explained in Part 3 of the series, REST). Exercise stimulates the production of three neurotransmitters that are critical to our mental health: norepinephrine (excitatory), serotonin (inhibitory), and dopamine (both excitatory and inhibitory). No wonder exercise is an excellent way to lower anxiety, depression, and stress (serotonin, in particular, helps your body relax and calm down after a stress response), and to remove negative thoughts (these can feed depression). These neurotransmitters also improve concentration and memory.
Move your body!
Many recent studies point to running and sustained aerobic activity as the ideal type of exercise to stimulate neurotransmitters and improve mood, by giving that overall “feel good” sensation. In the long run, exercise can reduce the rate of cognitive decline as well as help limit degenerative diseases of the brain. This is not only thanks to the neurotransmitters in the brain but also to the increased blood flow to the brain.
Another amazing benefit of exercise is that it stimulates neurogenesis, which is the production of new neural connections in the hippocampus, a region of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
So, get up from your computer chair and go out! Walk, jog, bike, run, go to your local gym, dance, do yoga, play sports, find anything that will move your body every day. You don’t have to engage in strenuous activity every time, you just have to stay active doing what you love. Need motivation? Have fun with your friends! Start with activities that you enjoy so that it will be easier to commit to a routine and be consistent.
If you’re able to combine physical activity with the outdoors, you will also benefit from sunlight, which is a key player in your sleep-wake cycle (helping you to sleep better at night) and also extremely important for the synthesis of Vitamin D. Plus, you will connect with our planet. Remember, even though we’re very sophisticated and evolved, we’re still an animal species depending on Mother Earth. When you connect directly with the Earth’s ground (try walking barefoot on grass in a park, or on the sand at a beach, for instance), you receive healing energy through negatively charged electrons from the surface of the Earth that improve your well-being.
So, what do you say? Will you spend 30-60 minutes of your time today exercising? Do it for your body, do it for your brain, do it for your future!
Need help with your daily life? Do you feel stressed out, or do you lack the necessary focus at work? I can help you target specific needs and rebalance your body and brain; let’s connect with a Clarity Call today!
As a Holistic Precision Life Coach and creator of the Life-Work Balance System, I empower ambitious professionals and high achievers like you to optimize themselves and unlock their full potential, fostering enhanced well-being and productivity in their lives and careers. I combine innovative methodologies (epigenetics, neuroscience, chronobiology, and positive psychology) to facilitate profound lifestyle transformations.