You’ve heard it before:
- When you do not have your health, nothing else matters at all.
That’s an easy enough thing to agree with. When we’re unhealthy, just getting through the day can be tough. You’re not exactly in the frame of mind to become your best self.
That quote has been attributed to many people as it has been repeated over the years. But there’s an additional sentence contained in a version by Augusten Burroughs:
- When you have your health, you have everything.
With that, I’ll disagree. There’s much more to personal growth than just prime health, even though plenty of people seem to stop there.
When you have your health, you’re free to focus on other aspects of your life, which are often at the cognitive level. The beauty of beginning with improving your fitness, though, is that your brain gets a boost as well.
Say you want to start a business, master a second language, or learn to play an instrument. Doing those things is possible at any age, but by putting fitness first you grow new neurons to better tackle those goals.
The only activity that’s been found to generate new neurons is vigorous exercise. Interestingly, these new cells show up in the hippocampus, which is associated with learning and memory — the very cognitive functions you rely on to grow in other areas.
Okay, that still leaves us with the problem of making ourselves exercise. Every time you run across advice on how to get over a dislike of working out, you hear the same thing — find an activity you enjoy for its own sake. In other words, rely on intrinsic motivation rather than willpower in the pursuit of external benefits.
For example, you’re more likely to work in vigorous exercise if you enjoy playing pick-up basketball games, as opposed to slogging away on a treadmill. And guess what — the basketball game is better for your brain than the treadmill.
- [Researchers] found increased blood perfusion to certain brain areas in participants that engaged in skill-based exercises compared with those doing exercises that were purely aerobic. “Think of running on a complex trail versus running on a track,” says the University of Southern California’s Giselle Petzinger. “Movement is not just movement, per se; it’s very cognitive.”
So, the “do whatcha like” approach to exercise has a new wrinkle. If it’s a skill-based activity, it’s even better for your brain than the cognitive enhancement from exercise in general.
- Probing Exercise’s Effects on Cognitive Function
- The Habits Of People Who Beat Their Hatred Of Exercise And Got In Shape
- Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (Amazon Associate link)
Fight the Power
Figuring out how to effectively appeal to adolescents was the first challenge facing researchers in a fascinating new study. Their goal was to induce teens to change one critically important behavior — food choice — in a completely novel way.
Hold the Yolk?
Eggs are loaded with a variety of beneficial nutrients. However, the nutritional value of an egg can vary greatly, depending on whether you eat the whole egg or just the egg whites.
Weighting for the Holidays
It’s not the kind of fake news that’s spread through Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, but this time of year, the “news” stories about holiday weight gain are almost always overblown.
With three-fourths of Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck, paying our bills on time each month can be difficult. To help give your bills – and thus, your budget – more breathing room, here are four strategies that have helped others in the past.
In a world where the average employee sends and receives 122 emails per day and attends an average of 62 meetings per month, your boss or HR leadership simply doesn’t have the time or bandwidth to properly think through how best to deploy your talents moving forward.
Take This Job and …
“I chafed under the suit and tie, a resumé of increasing political responsibilities, and long hours at the corporate complex. I was tired of having a boss, of the extraneous meetings and of the professional game of seeking approval and currying favor.”
“Humans are particularly well-situated to be able to anticipate the future and plan for the future,” Barlow explained, and that’s where anxiety is actually quite functional.
Any time I see a headline like this in the personal development arena, my clickbait radar kicks into high gear. In this case, however, I found some valuable, punchy reminders that can help you get back on track.
New research suggests that we may have been thinking about wisdom all wrong — that it’s not necessarily a long-term state we settle into, or a trait we hone over time, but a fleeting mind-set that comes and goes.
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