In a recent New York Times blog post, Gretchen Reynolds argues that self-talk is a key to a successful exercise plan. Reporting on a British study, she points out that simply telling yourself, “This exercise feels good” can keep you exercising much longer.
The problem is that “exhaustion” is not as clear-cut as you might think. The fact is that our brain tells us we are tired earlier than the muscles actually give out. Our brain fools us, and for a good reason.
You see, we humans spent much of our history living in primitive conditions where there were big, fierce creatures interested in eating us. We ran away from them, and if we escaped we needed to rest, out of the danger that the predator might track us down and we’d have to run again. At least that is the argument that evolutionary psychologists present.
Fortunately, our self-talk can clearly override the built-in safety mechanism. Since we really don’t need to recover and run away again, we can push ourselves and get a better workout. We are smarter that our built-in programming, because our primitive brains haven’t caught up with social development.
Here is the NYT story: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/06/keep-repeating-this-workout-feels-good/?_r=0
Here is a short version of that link: http://tinyurl.com/mjjegkm
Another new article reports on something about exercise we ought to have learned a long time ago. Exercise, especially for old geezers like me, helps us have healthier brains.
The Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas released a report on their research. Volunteer research subjects were assigned randomly to an exercise group (1 hour 3 times a week) or a control group.
The exercising group improved their blood flow and brain health quite nicely, resulting in brains that look younger and healthier. Specifically, their hippocampuses received a boost and the researchers believe that will result in better memory processes, something us old geezers need.
Here is a link to that study: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-11/cfb-sfa110613.php
Here is a short version: http://tinyurl.com/m8prkm8
There is the how and the why. Now just do.