I’ve always loved exercising, but with other goals and pressures on my time, it’s often the first thing to get pushed aside. My to-do list is filled with the essentials to keep my household running smoothly, to finish my online classes, and to pursue my writing goals. By the time I check those items off my to-do list, it’s fairly easy to convince myself to save the exercise for another day.
And then I decided to register for a marathon in mid-May, and this forced me to be more consistent in my exercise regimen. My other commitments didn’t go away, which meant that I either needed to start getting up at 5:00 in the morning and exercising before my kids wake up or be completely unprepared for my marathon.
It seems like my 5:00 a.m. wake-up and all that exercise would zap my energy, doesn’t it? Strangely, the opposite was true. I’d get to the end of the day thinking, “Holy crap! I got a lot done today, and I’m still going strong!”
I was more focused. More efficient. My brain just seemed more—I don’t know—capable. The “brain fog” was gone. I was thinking more clearly. As far as writing goes, my daily word-count quota took much less time to reach (and it was better material). And I had the time to consistently make healthy meals for my family.
This can’t all be attributed to the exercise, right?
To be completely honest, probably not. In order to get up at 5:00 a.m., I also had to be committed to going to bed at a decent time. I’d never drag my butt out of bed for an “optional” exercise program without decent sleep, so I also started consistently to go to bed at 9:00 every night (even when I was reading a really incredible book that I didn’t want to put down).
My commitment to exercise started this really amazing snowball effect—more exercise, better sleep, healthier food. I don’t know which is the most responsible for the last several weeks of heightened awareness and health, but I was doing some browsing online and found this really cool video that talks about brain chemistry and exercise. Perhaps not so strangely, it mentions all the differences I experienced after becoming more consistent in a commitment to exercise in the morning.
It’s fairly long—about fifteen minutes—but it’s quite fascinating. I think it would be fascinating even for those who aren’t science geeks like myself. It talks about how exercise affects the brain’s ability to learn, focus, cope with stress, etc. It explains the brain chemistry affected by exercise and references several studies that compare exercise to various pharmaceutical drugs used to treat ADHD, depression, and anxiety.
Pretty interesting information . . . and inspiring to get out there and get moving.