Exercise, Cognitive Function & Energy

The benefits of controlled exercise and physical activity in all its varied forms are as infinite as the universe. There are billions of planets, stars and galaxies and quite possibly, an infinite number of universes. Known as multiverse theory, these universes comprise everything that exists: the entirety of space, time, matter, energy, and the physical laws and constants that describe them.

And so it is with exercise. If you want to get close to your inner core and essence, if you want to peer into your own soul, try running up a steep hill until your thighs and lungs burn like fire. Only then will you truly know why you’re alive and what you’re capable of.

Squat your own bodyweight until failure. Skip fast on your toes for twelve minutes straight. Kick a punching bag 100 times. Swim across the Mississippi. Try an hour of Ashtanga Power Yoga and the list goes on and on like numbers themselves.

Exercise is beneficial to every cell in the body, every neuron, every cardiac cell and every muscle fiber. Human cells number in the trillions. Exercise strengthens every cell membrane, all connective tissue and improves the integrity of every organelle housed within each cell.

Exercise is also enormously beneficial to the human microbiome, which is a vast aggregate of bacteria, fungi and microorganisms. Exercise has a beneficial impact on gut microbiota diversity. This is attributed to strenuous workouts and a higher intake of protein.

Ask me to name all the stars in our galaxy alone and for the same reason, I’ll tell you why it’s impossible to count and indentify all the benefits of exercise. But just for fun let’s define two that are irrefutable and to do that, I’m going to draw from a huge data bank that scientists have collected and stored in a knowledge vault for centuries.

This vault is open to the public but few ever venture in. It has six primary departments called human physiology, human kinetics, physical education, kinesiology, exercise science and most recently, sports nutrition. Each department represents an academic discipline of research and study taught in most colleges and universities worldwide.

Let’s begin with what really matters, the human brain.

Tons of studies have recently shown that moderate to high intensity exercise can increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which enhances synaptic plasticity, neuronal functions of the brain and growth factors. BDNF stimulates neurogenesis, increases resistance to brain insults and improves learning and mental performance. Thus, exercise is not just important for our bodies, but also for our minds.

But let’s get back to neurogenesis. Do you know what this word means? Do you understand the significance of anything that stimulates neurogenesis? Neurogenesis refers to the growth and development of neurons. Neuro relates to nerves and genesis means the formation of something new. We used to think that the nervous system was fixed and incapable of regeneration, but in the 1990’s adult neurogenesis was demonstrated in non-human primates and humans.

Unfortunately many of us still believe in the outdated false notion that once ‘shot’ due to abusive behavior or neglect, the brain and its damaged neurons are forever lost. Not so my friends. If you want to rebuild, regenerate and restore your brain AT ANY AGE, start dancing. Start running, weight lifting, swimming, cycling or playing your favorite sport.

Your BUTT is the new brain. Get it in gear and nature will provide new neurons and an entire substratum of neural pathways, tracts and connections. Of course it gets even better when exercise is combined with optimum nutrition. Supply your biological demand. Make this your personal Prime Directive. When exercise and optimum nutrition are applied with equal force, you are truly in alliance with wisdom, logic and genomic science.

Space limits me to reveal only one more exercise derived benefit, the significance of which is monumental. It’s called ENERGY!

In physics energy is defined as the capacity to do work, and that’s exactly what exercise when performed correctly is designed to do. This is why soldiers, athletes, fire fighters, police officers and modern intellectuals exercise. They understand the rules of the game called reality. They understand that their capacity to perform well is absolutely relative to their physical shape and condition. They also understand that everything required to workout and train consistently, including dedication, discipline and determination, stems from the mind.

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Does the entire universe explode? No. Theoretically they will pass through each other with no effect. So let whatever is holding you back from exercise simply pass through you with no effect. Don’t stand up against the wave. Learn to ride it. The incentive to exercise emanates from the conceptualization of its necessity.

One of life’s greatest paradoxes is that in order to generate more energy you have to expend physical energy first. This fact is non-intuitive but true. You literally have to move the body when you don’t feel like it because movement itself is the key to increasing human metabolism.

Sure it’s tough to get going sometimes but once you try you’ll discover that movement is the key to solving this puzzle. This is because the body adapts to movement by changing its physiology and biochemistry to accommodate the new demand. It happens on a cellular level, where natural energy production begins in tiny organelles called mitochondria.

In a study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics in 2008, University of Georgia researchers found that inactive folks who normally complained of fatigue could increase energy by 20% while decreasing fatigue by as much as 65% by simply participating in regular, low-intensity exercise. On days when people walked more total daily steps, they ended up with more energy compared to days when they walked less.

Our bodies are not usually tired from activity… rather, they are drained of vitality as a result of a sedentary life. Movement is the key to energy. Movement is the key to passion, enthusiasm, and excitement.

As always...Stay Well and Live Free!