Creating Fitness Anchors For Mental Focus
Intense exercise helps to maintain blood pressure, weight loss, energy, mood, stress, and anxiety.
Besides the obvious, exercise also stimulates the regions of the brain involved in memory function. Essentially, a chemical called the “brain-derived neurotropic factor” rewires the brain to make it work better.
According to author Dr. John Ratey, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, “There’s a lot you can do to prevent cognitive decline, or slow it down, or recover memory function that you might feel you have lost.”
Ratey is also the author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. “When you exercise and move around, you are using more brain cells. Using more brain cells turns on genes to make more BDNF.”
BDNF Only Improves From Exercise
Currently, and perhaps for the best, BDNF isn’t available in any sort of pill. It can only come from regular exercise.
According to the science, brain benefits occur when the heart rate hits 70 percent of the maximum, about five days perweek. This could be something as simple as playing a sport each weekday.
As one example, young adult author Soman Chainani uses fitness to anchor his creative day. “Just having these anchors makes everything go so much smoother,” concluded the author, about playing tennis in the morning and lifting weights in the afternoon.
In between these physical anchors, he has giants blocks during the day to work creatively.
For Chainani, this means tennis, writing, weight lighting with a trainer, and then another creative block of writing and any business that needs to be done. “That becomes the way I manage time,” he admits
In terms of focus, “If you’re fueled by those two workouts, you come back, ready to go. You’re just in it…operating on adrenaline…single-mindedly.”
Creating Anchors For Mental Success
In addition, because of these anchors, the author’s subconscious is likely working during the workouts to solve future creative problems.
That means that when he returns to the work, he’s not only ready to go, but focused on what needs to be done. Ironically, he doesn’t keep notes in a calendar or planner, but always stays on top of what needs to be done.
As the author of The School For Good and Evil, he also believes in stopping his work around 7pm each day. Otherwise, he feels like working too far into the night will hurt the work the following day.
Specifically, Chainani’s day begins at 6am with meditation, steam inhalation, juice, and then tennis around 7am. After about an hour of tennis, he heads back to work on a new book or edits for the next few hours. Lunch is around 1pm from a meal delivery service, followed by a trainer workout and then work until around 7pm.
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