Tag Archives: exercise and brain

Strength Training and Jedi Mind Tricks In the Gym

 mind muscle connection

The 17th-century French philosopher Descartes believed in a dualistic bifurcation of the mind and body. For him, the mind and body were two separate and independent entities. I always had a problem with this dualistic view and the contemporary field of neuroscience has rightfully invalidated it. The interconnectedness between the mind and body becomes self-evident in the arena of sport and athleticism.  Too often athletes and fitness enthusiasts neglect the psychological component of training; an oversight which unfortunately impedes progress and success. We know the brain controls all movement. What was only apparent until recently, is that the body directly affects and informs the function your mind and the creation of your very consciousness.  Your body has the ability to transcend physical limitations, so long as your mind will allow it. Think about the grandma who lifts a car to save her grandson. Or the injured vet who, after being told he will never walk again, defies all odds by running a marathon. The expectations and beliefs our minds generate are the single biggest barriers to achievement.  Once you learn how to control your perception, you can harness and unleash your inner Jedi. These mind tricks will help you move past plateaus and improve training outcomes.
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Lose Weight and Get Smarter Simultaneously!

nyc in-home personal trainer

“I can only meditate when I’m walking. When I stop, my mind ceases to think; my mind only works with my legs.” -Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The human brain thrives on exercise and deteriorates without it.  First and foremost the animal brain evolved for the purpose of driving movement (thinking came next – don’t believe me? Watch this video).  Later along on the evolutionary ladder, early man survived by doing most of his thinking while on the move or hunt. Humans are geared for sharpened cognition while moving.  In fact, our body rewards regular sustained activity with better health and stronger brain power.  Want to perform optimally in a board meeting or on a test?  Exercise for 20 minutes prior to the exam and you will do better. Numerous studies have provided evidence that physical activity improves brain plasticity and facilitates learning.  Some research actually shows learning while exercising simultaneously improves memorization and overall cognition. “Rhythms in the brain that are associated with learning become stronger as the body moves faster”, UCLA neurophysicists report.  So the next time you need to study for a test or put something to memory go for a run or bike ride. Load up your iPhone (or Sony Walkman) with audio books or informational podcasts and review them while you sweat. Continue reading

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