In a feature piece about his work-life balance, Mark Zuckerberg said he gave up running as an exercise to take his mind off work because the problem with running is you can think a lot. He may not be entirely wrong. Running can be difficult because it’s hard to focus and enjoy the run at the same time, unless you have a specific goal in mind, like running your first marathon or finishing a run faster than ever before.
Why does exercising the body not work out the brain?
During exercise, chemicals called endorphins are released. These chemicals can impact the body in various ways including relieving pain, decreasing anxiety and depression, and slowing down the aging process. But when it comes to the brain these natural substances seem to do little more than distract people from work-related thoughts. On the other hand, aerobic exercise has been shown to have some beneficial effects on cognition. One study published in Brain Research suggested that a single hour of intense aerobic exercise can improve cognitive function for at least twenty-four hours afterward
If running doesn’t workout the brain what does?
Mark Zuckerberg is right. After a long run I think a lot about my day at work and the stress that’s built up. Plus running can be isolating. I prefer to find other forms of exercise that stimulate my brain rather than just using my legs and feet.
I love yoga because it relaxes me and helps me focus on deep breathing which is refreshing especially when the rest of my day has been hectic or stressful. Yoga also calms down my anxious thoughts which makes it easier for me to sleep at night. Yoga also helps me escape from reality by focusing on poses instead of what’s happening in the outside world- sometimes if I’m feeling overwhelmed I take a class and by the end feel energized again!
What are some easy ways to stimulate my brain?
A great way to stimulate the brain is simply by playing a game or reading. Specifically for those that want to test their mental agility and have fun at the same time, start playing Sudoku. With all of the different levels and skill sets, it will definitely offer some challenge and allow you to work out your head. For those looking more towards strengthening their problem solving skills, try crossword puzzles like word search as they usually have short answers with a lot of creativity built in them. In addition to these specific games listed there are plenty of other games that require speed and critical thinking skills like chess and cards. Games can be used not only as entertainment but also education!
What are some exercises I can do at home without much equipment?
A great way to think about creative solutions is by playing with Play-Doh. All you need is a few colors of the stuff and some cookie cutters. Take as much time as you need cutting out various shapes and rolling the dough into different shapes. While you are doing this, focus on solving the problems at hand. You may not come up with an answer while playing with Play-Doh but it will give your brain a break from what it’s been focused on so that when you return to the problem set with fresh eyes you’ll be able to tackle them in a new way. For added benefit, stretch while waiting for the dough to relax or put something fun on TV while doodling around with shapes – like this episode of Freaks and Geeks.
How long should I do these exercises?
Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t recommend running as an exercise because of its ability to allow the brain to think.
Running is generally a low-intensity aerobic exercise. The objective is not necessarily burning calories or increasing heart rate but rather building endurance and strengthening muscles in the lower extremities.
In this way, it falls under the category of cross-training because it gives athletes access to a variety of exercises with many different benefits for improving overall fitness.
Why is mental health so important?
A healthy body and a healthy mind go hand in hand. There are a variety of ways that exercise benefits our mental health including; it reduces stress, improves cognitive function and increases serotonin production. When you have physical pain or discomfort, often times the quickest way to alleviate it is by using pharmaceutical drugs or some other form of medical intervention but what happens when you’re experiencing emotional pain? The type of pain that doesn’t just go away with time but only seems to get worse? Our society has accepted the belief that it’s perfectly fine for people who are suffering from mental illness or mental distress not seek help from a professional because they believe that it’s simply just in their head. It’s time we take care of our minds as much as we do our bodies.