5 Fantastic Reasons Why Smart People Should Exercise
There’s this ridiculous notion that you’re either a geek or a jock, that you’re either stuck with your head in books all day or that you live in the gym but struggle to spell gymnasium. Well as an Oxford Graduate in History and English who now makes his living as a Health, Life and Strength Coach I’m here to bust that myth wide open. Here are five fantastic reasons why smart people should make exercise part of their everyday lives.
Reason One: Exercise Gives You More Energy to Work
We all know that feeling when your energy reserves are running low and you can’t quite work at your optimum levels. You feel held back, drawn towards procrastination and yet also sort of annoyed that you can’t seem to get the work done. Well imagine what it would be like to expand the number of hours per day in which you can be productive. Instead of getting tired in the early afternoon you have natural reserves of energy to keep you productive until the evening. Imagine how much more work you could get done, how much quicker you could reach your goals.
Well you don’t have to imagine! That kind of sustainable energy is available all day every day if you understand the magic that exercise can do for you. Simple cardiovascular training can improve your lung capacity and help you get more energy-giving oxygen into your body. It can also supercharge your heart so that it can pump more blood around your body with every single beat! You can finally have a body that supports your mind.
Reason Two: Blast through Mental Block
We’ve all been there, working hard on a project or a problem or an essay or whatever, but you just can’t get the solution. The words don’t come to you or the calculations don’t make sense or there just doesn’t seem to be an answer to the problem.
Again, exercise can change that in less than ten minutes. The very process of moving your body elicits proven biochemical changes within your brain. Your entire hormonal system changes, your nervous system lights up and a rush of chemicals such as endorphins and BDNF flood your brain. You become a different animal. And the best thing about BDNF, or Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor, is that it has protective and reparative effects on your memory neurons.
Try it the next time you’re stuck. Jump up from your desk or office or wherever you work and find some space. Stretch, bounce around, shake, rotate your hips or do the Macarena. Don’t worry about looking silly, most workplaces need a bit more fun anyway. (And you can always direct your colleagues to this article!)
Reason Three: You’ll get ill Much, Much, Much Less Often
I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve probably been ill around five times in the last five years, and as my friends will testify at least two of those were self-inflicted at various pubs. I’m just much less susceptible to random colds, snuffles and other bugs, and when I do get them my body seems to fight them off a damn sight quicker than most people.
At first I thought it was just me, but then I started talking to other exercise aficionados and a trend started to emerge. The people that exercised regularly almost all had similar experiences with health. There’s no doubting that these individuals were also healthy eaters, and the better quality nutrition they consumed probably also contributed to the effect I’m describing. But there is increasing evidence to suggest that exercise and physical health are related. Coach Gregg Glassman, CEO and founder of Crossfit, has even proposed that physical health and physical fitness are simply different stages on a continuum of wellness.
Reason Four: Live life Pain Free
With the onset of the computer age it’s becoming increasingly common for us to be inactive for extended periods of time. We sit down at desks to work for an average of eight hours per day. The problem with this is that it causes stiffness in your hips as well as underactive glutes (buttock muscles) the combination of which leads to chronic back pain.
Just a few minutes of basic stretching and strengthening per day can help dramatically reduce if not completely remove this pain. Plus, with all your muscles balanced and the tightness removed your posture will improve, helping you stand taller and look more confident.
Reason Five: Social Justice!
Last, but certainly not least, comes one important point. Why should all the benefits of health, strength and fitness be left to gym bros and fitness bunnies? Why should a well performing and great looking body be reserved for sports jocks? So many smart people feel that exercise isn’t for them. Well I say no more! Smart people deserve to be healthy too. So let’s reclaim the gyms, return to the sports fields and create the energetic, mental-block-solving bodies we all deserve.
Let’s put down the pens and pick up some weights.