When most people think about exercising they think of some form of physical output like working out in the gym, taking a yoga class, doing Zumba, swimming laps, or joining some type of team. Let’s open our eyes to not only the physical aspect of exercising but broaden our view to including other beneficial types of exercising. There are three types of exercising that I feel are essential in order for continual growth to happen. They are: exercising your mind, exercising your body, and exercising that increases productivity.
Exercising your mind by playing word games such as scrabble, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and many others, can help keep your brain active. Lumosity is a program that is designed for your brain needs; it challenges your memory & attention. Other ways to challenge your brain is to stay involved in social activities that help to stave off loneliness as well as giving your brain a workout. Don’t believe untrue statements about being less creative & wise as you get older. Being creative, acquiring wisdom, and developing your personality can remain constant your entire live if you continue to exercise your mind. It is important to engage your brain by reading and learning new skills. As Carl Sagan reminds us that “The brain is like a muscle, when it’s in use, we feel very good.” According to Dr. Morley, he recommends the following exercises to sharpen your mental skills: (1) test your recall, (2) let the music play-guess the title of it and who composed it, (3) do math in your head, (4)take a cooking class- (practice memorizing some of your favorite recipes), (5) learn a foreign language, (6) create word pictures, (7) draw a map from memory(directions to go somewhere), (8)challenge your taste buds (when eating, try to identify individual ingredients in your meal, including subtle herbs, and spices). (9) refine your hand-eye abilities (take up a new hobby that involves fine motor skills, such as knitting, drawing, painting, assembling puzzles, etc.) (10) Learn a new sport (start doing an athletic exercise that utilizes both mind and body, such as yoga, golf, or tennis). All these types of activities trigger genes and growth factors that recycle and rejuvenate your brain.
Now let’s look at exercising your body, which falls into four basic categories: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Each type is different, doing them all will give you more benefits, and mixing it up helps to prevent boredom along with your risk of injury. Endurance is built up by doing a form of aerobic activities which helps your breathing, heart rate, lungs, and circulatory system. Building your endurance makes it easier to carry out many of your everyday activities. Some examples of aerobic activities would include: brisk walking or jogging, yard work (mowing, raking, digging), and dancing. Strength exercises make your muscles stronger and allows you to carry out everyday activities, such as climbing stairs and carrying groceries. These exercises are also called resistance training. Some examples of this type of exercise are: lifting weights, using a resistance band, or using your own body weight. Balance exercises help prevent falls, a common problem in older adults. Many lower-body strength exercises will also improve your balance, such as: standing on one foot, heel-to-toe walk, and Tai Chi. Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles and will help your body stay limber. Being flexible gives you more freedom of movement for other exercises as well as for your everyday activities. Some examples of flexibility exercises are: shoulder and upper arm stretch, calf stretch, and Yoga.
The last type of exercising is exercise that increases productivity. According to Robert Pozen’s research, it shows that a regular exercise routine can make you happier, smarter, and more energetic. A habit of regular exercise will help keep you mentally sharper throughout your entire life. It has been discovered that as you age your body generates fewer and fewer brain cells. However, when you exercise, this can help prevent the slow down process and thus have more brain cells—giving them a major advantage in the workplace. When you have an exercise routine it can give you more energy throughout the day, and the effect of exercise on your mood is immediate. When you exercise your body releases several different chemicals in your brain, known as neurotransmitters, which reduce the discomfort of exercise but creates the sensation often referred to as “runner’s high”. According to a British economist George Mac Kerron in his ongoing studies found that exercise makes people very happy-only sex makes people happier. And the happier you are, the more productive you can be.
I hope you have drawn your own conclusions about the importance of exercising. In closing here are two quotes that summarize what I’ve expressed- “True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are even united” by Wilhelm Humboldt. “Follow your dreams, work hard, practice and persevere. Make sure you eat a variety of foods, get plenty of exercise & maintain a healthy lifestyle” by Shasha Cohen. My wish for all of you is to stop making excuses, grab some friends and start a routine of exercising.