Almost everyone at this time of year seems completely pre occupied with ‘losing weight’ or ‘toning up’ which has un-doubtable body wide health benefits when done correctly. But as Personal Trainers we know that it requires a broader scope and more holistic approach to achieve true optimal Health and Fitness. We believe that people in general overlook the most important part of a health and fitness drive- the Brain, after all this is our bodily CEO, who makes the decision whether to go to the Gym or not and whether to order the large pizza instead of the salmon and steamed veg you ought to have. It controls everything, from our hormone balance to how strong we are and how we feel before, during and after exercise. This quick blog post is by no means a comprehensive and full instruction guide, but rather a few pointers on how to go about achieving a better state of overall health and how to start to feel optimal.
Exercise- increases Brain power
The effect of exercise on the Brain is significant. Recent research showed that just 20 minutes of walking a day could halve your risk of Dementia and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 60 %.
Exercise increases oxygen flow into the brain- In research an increased presence of oxygen in the brain is accompanied by an increase in mental acuity.
Exercise will activate the neurons – plenty varied movement engages huge numbers of neurons, compared to sitting. When they are activated they can remain healthy and more resistant to damage. They need regular switching on like our muscles need regular contraction to remain healthy.
So our recommendation is to get at least 20 minutes a day of walking and visit a gym regularly, better still visit one of our Expert Personal Trainers 3 times a week to feel great.
More Sleep-increases Brain Power
Super important to proper brain function – there is a reason we are meant to spend a third of our life tucked up in bed!
Getting to little or poor quality sleep has been shown to decrease the size and or the function of several areas in the brain including the Hippocampus, leading to a decreased ability to remember things, reason intelligently, it negatively affects mood and damages your ability to make sound decisions- not great if you are trying to make the decision to switch to a healthier lifestyle.
So aim to get 8 hours of unbroken high quality sleep, by turning in early, reading, making sure your bedroom is pitch black and switching off TV and computers at least an hour before bed.
Less Stress – Stressed Brains don’t work so well.
Brains actually shrink with enough long-term exposure to it stress hormones. We are by design not built to endure more than 30- 60 seconds of being highly stressed… the type of stress that was associated with running away from something trying to eat us. Not long term stress about money troubles, social status, work deadlines etc. that we spend years worrying about.
So we advise that you try to lower your exposure to stress by going to a yoga or tai chi class. And/ or take time out of your day to -go for a walk, listen to music, meditate, have a nap and of course spend more ‘quality’ time with your loved ones.
Gut Health- Healthy Brain needs a Healthy Gut
For optimal brain and immune function then addressing gut health could be a massive part of the health and fat loss puzzle ...it's estimated that up to 95% of our happy brain hormone serotonin is made and stored there. This is the hormone that people who suffer with depression generally have low levels of. The brain needs a healthy balance of your brain hormones, if you are not happy then you’ll struggle to make good choices in all areas of life, including what to eat and whether to exercise!
So our advice is to take a high potency probiotic + digestive enzymes and try to avoid foods that obviously upset your stomach or leave you feeling bloated e.g. bread, milk