Aug 13


Everyone knows that diet and exercise does the body good, but do you know that exercise benefits the mind too? Recently I saw one of those little meme pictures that depicted a big-headed skinny guy next to a muscular small-headed guy. The message was something about the big-head working out his mind and it made me think that whoever came up with it probably thought it was clever. It wasn’t, it was ignorant. Exercise and intelligence are not mutually exclusive, just like being good-looking and smart is not impossible. People who push the logic of one or the other are normally projecting some inner inadequacy that stems from not wanting to exercise or some past prejudice that deals with working out.

Training is therapeutic, as a person who spends 90% of his day writing on screens of various sizes, I cannot imagine not having exercise to even out my day. When you write, code and design all day you get in your car, drive home in annoying traffic and your brain feels like jelly. I have tried numerous ways to normalize my life in the evenings but video games, television, and sitting around just don’t do it.

What I have found works for me is private dinners (which cost money), drinking (which costs money and makes you sleepy), and exercise (gets the blood flowing, relaxes my eyes, makes me healthy). Sure there are days when my brain is so fried that only a few glasses of wine and some sleep will cure it but exercise is second to none.

When I wake up early to lift weights and/or run I am alert and efficient throughout the entire day; it lets me sleep better, feel better, I can smile, be productive, and I don’t feel my age. During the weeks when I can’t train for whatever reason (sickness, deadlines, etc.) I feel that ten ton gorilla on my back and I cannot understand how people allow him-the gorilla to live there as part of their daily lives.

Exercise is more than a gym and running shoes

Part of the turnoff for a lot of people with exercising is the thought that you have to get a gym membership and start running every day. But when I say exercise I mean anything that gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing through physical activity. Here are a few suggestions for you:

  • Take long walks in the evening (I park far from the office so I can stroll)
  • Wake up and do 10-50 pushups immediately (till failure). For a man the feeling of sore arms and a tight chest is a confidence boost.
  • Do some side-bends as you brush your teeth in the morning. Squeeze that muffin-top away.
  • Get a barbell or some dumbbells and keep them near your television. Curl while you watch your favorite show at least once a week. Make a game out of it, 20 curls every time Cersei Lannister takes a drink on Game of Thrones or every time Rick looks dumb on The Walking Dead.
  • Do 100 Sit-ups/crunches before bed every night.
  • Walk or run a 5k every other weekend at a public park or your neighborhood.
  • Use your pool once in a while.

As stated before, the important thing is to do something physical every day to promote a healthy heart and physical fitness. It puts your mind in a place where many (who don’t exercise) will never see. As a person who works in a virtual world, it would be very easy for me to avoid exercise. I would never want to be without exercise however, it helps my brain stay sharp for the other parts of my life. Give exercise a try, it will surprise you how much of a difference it really makes.

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