This is your brain on exercise...
If only we could bottle up the benefits of exercise into a Rx bottle and prescribe it to people that struggle with insomnia, depression, anxiety, and an array of other mental health concerns. We sort of can, but for many, the struggle to show up consistently is real. The motivation to make fitness a part of their routine is challenging for some. The hardest part of any type of activity is getting started. Making the choice to show up. Athletes and other high risk professions have the structure and training framework in place, so it could be said that it takes the choice piece out of it. If they don't show up, they aren't on the team. If they don't show up - they are letting their comrades down. If they don't show up, they aren't prepared - which could be a win or a loss for sport athletes.....or a life/death situation for the tactical athlete. So they show up.
I've recently come across some articles that discuss the importance of not only movement (exercise) on the brain, but the no-kidding structural CHANGES that occur (aka neurogenesis) to improve mental and emotional factors. Not only that, but the cognitive capacity benefits (i.e. memory, attention, processing speed, etc.) are basically "fertilized" when we exercise.
The key takeaway that I want you to think about this week is this idea of movement and exercise versatility. In other words, when you train - what types of activities do you do (i.e. run, bike, swim, strength, power, agility, yoga)? Now, if you are on a program with a coach, typically they take this into consideration depending on what your craft is. Research recommends versatility and here is why. When you do a mix between aerobic, anaerobic, flexibility, and sport specific drills you are not only exercising and diversifying the body - you are also exercising the brain. It becomes a lit up "Simon" board. Instead of just one specific area being over strengthened, several brain regions are activated based on the activity that you are engaging in.
So the bottom line is: get outside your comfort zone, refrain from being a one-trick pony, and when in doubt - do more yoga :)
Check out the prescriptives that I summarize in the attached PDF and email email@example.com for more information on programming.