"Close the door."
"In or out! Make up your mind."
"You are letting the cool air out."
I can remember my mom saying these things all summer to my siblings and I. The funny thing is.... now my mom's voice is coming out of my mouth. Oy! Summer is officially here. There are times when we will need to tidy up the house or prepare meals and hope that our children keep themselves somewhat occupied, but let's invest some of this summer in physical activity with our children.
Physical activity increases heart rate which means more oxygen to the brain, balanced hormones which enhance the environment of the brain and stimulate brain plasticity which in turn stimulates the growth of new connections in the brain.
Last night I stood at the kitchen window and watched my husband throw around a Frisbee with our daughters and their friends. Let me just say that it was an earth stopping moment. For one thing, my girls haven't practiced the use of a Frisbee so it really was a lot of work for my husband. Hee Hee! Another point is that we have been REALLY focused on selling our house. A lot of time has been invested in cleaning and decluttering instead of enjoying the weather. It was amazing to see my husband and daughters just enjoying life. There is something so special about seeing our husbands invest in the lives of our kids. Here I am trying to write a blog about the benefit of physical activity on the brain and voila! my husband is outside doing it. Amazing!
Something as simple as standing up increases the oxygen to the brain by 15%. So when I stood at the kitchen window after walking away from HGTV, I increased the oxygen to my brain. It increased so much that I decided to clean up the kitchen. Amazing things can happen when we stand up! When hitting a wall in productivity or when reaching a point of frustration, at Breakthroughs we often ask our clients to stand or do a couple of jumping jacks. When we are feeling maxed out or tired or frustrated, our natural tendency is for our breathing to become more shallow. I encourage you, the next time you are on a deadline or stuck at a task, stand up, stretch your legs or even attempt a few jumping jacks.
So many of us are carrying around way too much Stress. I am deliberately not using the "S" word in my personal life right now. The real estate market can be a stressor. So can extra tasks at work, children, family drama, deadlines, financial strain, health issues..... The result of being in a stressed state can lead to depleted cortisol which we need to have in reserve to quicken our heartbeat, feed our brain extra oxygen and unleash energy from our fat and glucose stores in order to deal with stressors. With too little cortisol, we feel consistently and perpetually exhausted. Regular physical exercise can help balance our hormone levels.
Consider helping yourself and your children this summer by deliberately being more active. I may have to head outside and learn how to throw a Frisbee this summer.
What are some of your favourite summer physical activities? Is it a commitment to a sports team? Is it jumping on the trampoline? Even a walk in the evening or taking the kids to a playground gets you active and sharpens the brain. Now that you know, get moving!A few resources:Exercise Benefits Brain HealthEveryday Brain FitnessWomens Health - Hormone ChangesPsychology Today - Brain Plasticity in Action