Get Active Get Smarter
Jon Holloway - 21 Jan 19
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Editor’s Note Do those hyper people who get up and jog the coastal walk at 5:30 am fair better at work? In this article, you’ll learn:

  • How exercise stimulates your brain
  • How to motivate yourself
  • Listening ideas for your new morning jog (or walk, whatever)

Cheers! Nat Brown Editor-in-Chief Ask me anything! [email protected]

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We all know that exercise is good for your health, you feel better, balance your diet and or weight and we know that exercise makes you more energetic. That’s why half the world signs up for a gym membership in January.

But, and it’s a big but, exercise isn’t just good for your health, it can be a hack to make you smarter. We can all read, study, and cram more learning into our days, but what if 30 minutes of being active could get your there quicker?

The science bit

Here are the clever chemicals and biochemical processes supercharging your smartness when you exercise. It’s the smart wonder drug you’ve had access to all along"

Endorphins - This little neurochemical that boosts our mood levels and improve memory. Endorphins have also been shown to help the brain prioritise! So next time you need to work something out, go for a walk first.

Blood flow and oxygen - When we exercise, we increase blood flow and oxygen to the blood. Your brain gets more energy while exercising, which helps to increase brain activity.

New brain cell growth - Relatively recent research shows that exercise stimulates the protein FNDC5 which is the start of the process of growing new brain cells. More brain cells leads to better cognition.

How to get started

If you are already active that’s awesome, move on to the next section to add some x-factor to your activity. If you are new to the world of exercise and are like many others, setting your New Year resolutions to be more active, here are 6 ways to get started:

  1. Think about tracking. iOS has the health app, which tracks steps and activity, I use this daily to look at overall activity for the day. I also use the Nike Run Club app to track and motivate myself to run.

  2. Go for a walk. The easiest one of all, try walking to work, going for a lunchtime stroll of just carving out 30 minutes everyday to get out and about. Thinking is the new working after all.

  3. In home exercise. Definitely an easy way to get the heart rate up, with all the apps now available to guide you from 5 minutes to an hour to get active in your own home. Nike Training Club is awesome and ClassPass have launched a ‘home’ product called live, check it out.

  4. Take a class with friends. Getting into a gym can be daunting, so why not get together as a group and go for a group session. Things like yoga and pilates can be a good place to start.

  5. Join a gym on a free trial. This time of year is great for free trials, get along and see if it’s for you with little commitment. You could even look at something like ClassPass to help get you started.

  6. Train for something. One of the best ways to get motivated, train for something a short run, a group event or something bigger, having an end goal is a good kickstart to get you moving.

Add some x-factor

Your brain can be more receptive while exercising, so while you are out and about, listen to a book, podcast or learn that language you always wanted to learn.

Babbel have a great guide to learning while exercising, you can celebrate in Spanish when you finish.

My reading list (well listening list, as I always use Audible to ‘read’ books) this year is all about discovering humanity and the world around me. A few to consider:

  • 21 lessons for the 21st Century, Yuval Noah Hurari. Audible Link

  • Factfulness - 10 reasons why you are wrong about the world. Hans Rosling. Audible Link

  • Atomic Habits - How to build good habits and break bad ones. James Clear. Audible Link

Btw, you smart cookie… before you leave…

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Jon Holloway

Founder at Zuper, product guy. Snowboarder and wannabe futurist.

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