DAY 8: Movement is Medicine
Day 8 Self Reflection:
On Day 8 in your workbook, write down your favorite ten ways to exercise. Be creative. Anything that includes movement counts: Think Dancing, Walking with friends, etc, etc.
Day 8 Micro-Science: Adaptive Cellular Stress Response
The mind always wants to go with the easiest option, but it turns out the body and mind do a lot better when things aren’t so cushy. The adaptive cellular stress response shows that your system on a cellular level thrives when your body and mind have the right amount of stress to keep it strong. Turns out your body and mind can actually have too much of a good thing. Researchers call this “chronic positive energy imbalance” and happens when life becomes too easy. Such as when our cavemen brains come in contact with too many calories. which happens everyday on the streets of America. Turns out that our bodies do better when things are a little tough, such as when we regularly exercise, solve problems, and intermittently don’t eat. This is due our caveman genetic lineage that didn’t always have access to food, googling questions, and had to fight to stay alive everyday. Our bodies then developed an efficient system to meet these needs. This is why we need to challenge our bodies and minds on a daily basis to keep ourselves sharp.
FACT: Brain cells that are not used will atrophy and die if not used
TAKEAWAY: You must regularly challenge your mind or necessary cells used in problem solving will die off
Day 8 Meditation in Motion: Walking Mindfully
Incorporating meditation into our everyday lives in the end goal and there is no better way to do that then while walking from point A to B. Walking is something everyone of us does everyday, so why not use it to our advantage? Today were going to practice walking mindfully so that even time spent walking can be useful not only for our bodies but also for our minds.
FACT: Cavemen moved on average 13 miles per day.
TAKEAWAY: Over thousands of generations our ancestors programmed our bodies to move and we have to respect that fact.
Day 8 Meditation: It's going to feel like a long time, but set the timer for three minute and practice moving around the room slowly and intentionally. Undoubtedly your mind will wander but refocus on moving around the room at a snails pace. Focusing on the feel of your foot as it hits the ground and then lifts up again. Quiet your mind and only pay attention to the task at hand.. Hopefully this will give you a good idea of what it feels like to slow the mind down by giving it a task to focus on. If you find this style of walking helpful for relaxing, work on incorporating mindful walking into your daily existence.
Day 8 Movement Task: Adaptive Movement Patterns
Science has shown that exercise creates new brain cells but if you don’t attach those new cells to learning a skill then those cells will die off. As your brain doesn’t think you need them. So you should put your exercise to good use and get as many new brain cells as possible, as we all know that we kill enough of them. This ability of exercise to make new cells and attach them to learning is a really good reason to work out in the morning before you go about your day, creating optimal conditions to learn new skills and have them stick.
FACT: Regular exercise releases BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor) into your hippocampus.
TAKEAWAY: BDNF is like miracle-grow for your brain and it’s not a coincidence that exercise moves this awesome fertilizer right into the learning center of your brain.
Day 8 Movement Task: The task for today is to combine a physical task with a mental task to demonstrate that doing these tasks together can help you retain new brain cells. The task is pretty simple: Step #1) Do ten jumping jacks or pushups. Step #2) With your heart rate still up and those brain cells primed to learn new skills count downward from the number 1344 in increments of 13. (harder then it sounds) This may be frustrating and you may feel no difference in your effectiveness, but believe me your brain is learning as it goes. The point of this task is to help you recognize that exercise before doing anything is always a good idea.
Day 8 Bonus Material:
#1) Ted Talk: Brain Changing Benefits of Exercise
Check out this Ted Talk by Wendy Suzuki examining why its so important to move your body on a daily basis. She speaks in easy to understand language about the brain changing benefits of exercise and hopefully will convince you why it’s so important to put down your phone and move around!
#2) The New Science of Exercise
Check out this article by Time Magazine looking at the science behind why regular exercise has been proven to be better for your mental health then antidepressant medication and psychotherapy combined.