The "on" switch for your brain
This is the 4th post in my "Mental Strength week" series. Click here to start from the beginning.
I am afraid I don't have a punchy opening for this article. I do, however, have two nice graphics to share with you...
Graphic #1 illustrates that 20-minute walk will literally light up your entire brain.Feeling sluggish? Feeling down? Feeling bored? Then go and get some air.
Disclaimer: Some critics have disputed the use of this image as pseudo-science. If you read up on Dr. Chuck Hillman, you will see that he's done a lot of work on the impact of physical activity on the brain and cognition - he says that you do not need to engage in intense activities that you do not enjoy in order to reap the benefits of exercise. It boils down to finding something that works for you and if you experience the results, then keep doing it!
Graphic #2 shows that walking not only prevents shrinkage in one's hippocampus but actually increases it's size, which positively impacts your memory. Anders Hansen shares the chart demonstrating this at 3 minutes 36 seconds in the video below. Watch the first 6 minutes to see some very interesting findings.
To spell it out: Moving your body is very important in turning on your brain. Going for a walk is a really easy "on" switch. You don't need to do an intense workout to benefit - movement is enough.
You might be a little underwhelmed by this. Maybe turning on and increasing brain mass does not have enough appeal. In that case, here are some additional tips on how to maximise benefits of your walk:
Tip #1: Consciously (i) breathe deeply and (ii) extend the back leg behind when you walk to help elongate your psoas muscle. (By activating the hamstrings, gluteus maximus and foot plantar flexors, and since the psoas is a natural antagonist to the hamstrings.) Why should you care? The psoas is arguably the most important muscle in your body and sitting for a long periods of time, which you like do a lot of, really hurts the psoas. Lengthening and releasing tension in your psoas will make it easier to relax physically and have knock-on effects for your mental state.
Tip #2: Walk in a fasted state to burn fat easily and safely. In this post Jason Clemens links to a couple of studies and explains that fasted walking is low impact, burns fat and positively impacts insulin sensitivity. Find the time and you can do it every day - you don't have to kill yourself with a HIIT workout to get trim.
Tip #3: Double up and do something expansive. You can either (i) listen to an audiobook or a podcast whilst you walk to get some learning in, or (ii) go for a walk with someone you love, or (iii) give someone a call and have a real conversation.
So now what?
This recommendation is so easy that you will almost certainly ignore it. I probably would too, but why not...
Try it for 7 days and then decide how you feel about it? Try it out and tell me about your experience - email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You have nothing to lose and lots to gain.
About the author: Sukh Kalsi helps people to replace chronic stress, anxiety and depression with peak states of being. You can find his online courses at https://www.WeFlowAcademy.com and find out how to work with him at https://SukhKalsi.com
This article was originally published on LinkedIn