Mind

“Knowledge is Power only if it is Used”

The mind is a powerful tool and yet we have literally been stripped of our ability to reason when it comes to understanding how important fitness is to our overall health and well-being.

The ongoing and unresolved debates within the fitness industry have left preople to think that the two components of fitness diet and exercise are only about flat abs and big muscles!

The truth is that exercise generates new brain cell growth and literally rewires mental circuits which boosts memory and improves the speed and clarity with which we think and reason!

EXERCISE and the BRAIN

An amazing new book written by John J. Ratey, MD called “SPARK” gives us a revolutionary new understanding of the direct and tangible benefits between exercise and the brain.

Exercise not only produces and delivers the proteins that build new brain cells (neurogeneration) but it also produces the neurotrophic factor BDNF which is called “Miracle-Gro” for the brain.

Exercise promotes growth through activity which releases IGF-1, VEGF, FGF-2 and AMP. Each one battles brain cell decay (neurodegeneration) due to age, poor genetics and inactivity!

THE BRAIN

The brain is made up of over a hundred billion neurons (brain cells) which generates our thoughts through a bioelectrical chain reaction that utilizes hundreds of different chemicals found in the brain.

This electrochemical chain reaction travels over netwerks of hundreds of thousands of brain cells just like the internet as it searches for memories and allows us to think in a logical and rational manner.

Every thing we do, think and feel comes from a structured and orderly flow of information between different parts of our brain because they all handle different aspect of our thoughts, emotions and memories.

PROPER BRAIN FUNCTIONING

When the brain is working properly it is able to balance out our higher levels of thought and reason with our lower and more basic thoughts like our primal desires for food, sex and survival.

The Prefrontal cortex controls every aspect of overall brain functioning except for the most basic call for survival called the “fight or flight” stress response system which is generated by the Amygdala.

The Amygdala sets off a chain reaction down the HPA axis triggered by stress and anxiety making it bypasses rational thought triggering a downward spiral of negative thinking and irrational thought.

STRESS and ANXIETY

We are the only species in the animal kingdom with this bypass mechanism which means that stress and anxiety can actually trigger the “fight or flight” stress response system even if there is no threat to our survival!

The problem is that the “fight or flight” stress response system is only supposed to be engaged for emergencies and short periods of time and needs to be turned off by the prefrontal cortex.

Stress, worry, fear, depression and anxiety can trigger an continual loop of desperation that constantly bypasses the Prefrontal Cortexes logic, literally blocking intellect and keeps your brain stuck in a position of fear, fright and flight.

THE BRAIN-BODY CONNECTION

The fight or flight respone uses the HPA axis to shut down parts of your body and brain you don’t need so that you can focus all of your thoughts and energy on survival and getting to safety! The problem is that cortisol is released as well, it’s designed to help store fat.

The HPA axis sets off an electochemical reaction throughout your body that shuts off handle higher levels of thinking and body parts that are not essential for survival by blocking the cells insuline receptors.

This chain reaction that starts in the Amygdala triggers a release of chemicals and hormones throughout the body that are designed to “red line” the bodies metabolic rate (without the benefit of weight loss for most) preparing it for running or fighting.

It also increases short term fat storages of endurance energy for fighting or flighting which all has a devestating impact on the mind and body of people in a chair, car or couch all day. Emotional stress literally turns into physical duress and dysfunction.