Humans are meant to move.
The benefits of movement are that it is good for the body, brain and mind.
Exercise burns energy, and the fat we have on our bodies is stored energy. Currently, we’re all storing a lot of energy in this directed isolation phase which is amplified by the massive amounts of highly processed foods most of us have purchased and stored at home.
Things like pastas and rice as well as pop- tarts, lollies, soft-drink and alcohol. This is also made worse by food delivery services like über eats and deliveroo that can bring us calorie dense/ nutrient poor take away foods.
So we're storing a lot of energy.
Having our movements away from our homes being quite restricted, this energy surplus keeps growing.
Our bodies were designed to move, or Glutes are there to help us propel ourselves, not just to sit on for hours on end binging on the latest Netflix series.
A mixture of strength and cardio exercises are great for burning through that stored energy as well as helping the brain to process and stored information more efficiently. The increase in your heart rate gets the blood pumping through your body and transporting neurotransmitters and hormones to the points your body needs for strengthening and regeneration.
More movement means blood and nutrients get moved around the brain promotes more neuroplasticity and better brain health. At a minimum, 20 minutes of cardio 3 times a week, can increase the size of a persons’ hippocampus. The Hippocampi (we have two, one on each side of the brain) consolidates information from short to long term memory, and spatial memory for navigation. As the years go by, everyone’s brains start to shrink, by exercising and the growth of the brain helps to stop (or reverse) the shrinking and deterioration of the brain.
* SIDE NOTE: After my TBI, I have more prominent Sulci (folds in the brain) that shows that my brain has shrunk back after the severe swelling but there's no markers to show how much my brain has shrunk from it's previous size. So this is one of the main reasons I keep exercising.
Any kind of exercise is good for your brain because it gets the heart pumping and the blood flowing filled with the essential nutrients for brain growth. The key brain growth serum is BDNF or Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor which Max Lugavere describes it as “the brains miracle-grow” in his book Genius Foods. If you can’t go for a run, a good High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout ticks those boxes. Check out some bodyweight Tabata workouts you can do in your living room.
Cardio is great for brain recovery because as the blood gets pumping around your grey matter, it also seeks out and repairs damaged brain cells. It also is great to do first thing in the morning, because it has been shown to help you get ready for the day in that it helps the brain prepare to store new information (great for meetings) and generally helps get it warmed up for the day ahead.
Exercise is also good for your mind or soul, in that it’s the best legal recreational drug, it; reduces anxiety, increases dopamine production, it improves self-confidence, it can help to stop you from snacking/ overeating, it helps you to be more productive throughout the rest of the day and it helps you to sleep better.
As you have read, a quick run through of why we should be moving more, even just going for a good steady walk at an increased the pace (studies that show the brains of slower walkers age faster than the body carrying them).
Move well, eat well, rest well, and keep learning.