If you are like me when you get very busy and overwhelmed and need to concentrate, exercising can take a back seat. It seems like the smartest decision, as you can’t get work done while working out. However, this is pretty much the worst thing you can do when under stress as this is precisely the time you need to exercise.
A book by John Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, is absolutely fascinating and goes into great detail as to showing how exercise grows brain cells, improves functioning, allows for focus, and reduces stress. Let’s see why.
The average amount of energy we expend vs. those of our Stone Age ancestors is less than 38%. Yet there are several new studies showing the importance of exercise:
- Women who exercise lower their chances of developing dementia by 50 percent.
- Exercise has been shown in some studies to be as effective as antidepressants.
- A research study at a school showed that kids that exercised before school started vs. those that exercised in the middle of the day actually had better test scores!
- Exercise has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
Exercise controls the emotional and physical feelings of stress while also working at a cellular level. The brain activity during exercise speeds up the recovery process of neurons and muscles, leaving our bodies and minds stronger and more resilient. It also raises our neurons’ stress threshold.
If you haven’t read the book, I suggest you go to your library or borrow it from a friend or find it online. Or check out a list of places John Ratey will be speaking here. (I have seen him speak / met him — he is fantastic!) It is truly a fantastic exploration of the mind and exercise.
Next, I will look into fascinating insights as to why ADHD’ers can be addicted to stress, and what we can do to prevent the cycle …