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Physical exercise and productivity

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Posted by Alexander Deliyannis
Nov 16, 2011 at 10:47 PM

 

I’ve never been a couch potato, but my physical activity has been quite limited for long periods in my life. I took up purposeful and regular physical exercise only after reading Brain Rules http://www.brainrules.net/ (the book) which I strongly recommend.

Recently I hired a personal trainer. Judging by my improved energy and clarity of mind, not to mention physical improvements, it is probably the best investments I’ve ever done.

By the way, Medina in Brain Rules mentions an artifact he conceived to work while on the treadmill. Well, it has now become a commercial product http://www.trekdesk.com/

 


Posted by Chris Murtland
Nov 17, 2011 at 01:41 AM

 

The desk looks interesting. I have been experimenting with standing while working, so maybe I will take it to the next level. I do some sporadic exercise, but really need to improve in that area.

I’ve also noticed that drinking plenty of water (especially in the morning) improves my energy.

 


Posted by semanticum
Nov 17, 2011 at 12:46 PM

 

Chris,

I fully agree regarding drinking plenty of water. Our brain only works well when it gets enough water.

Dominik

 


Posted by Daly de Gagne
Nov 17, 2011 at 12:58 PM

 

Physical activity is very helpful - I take high intensity physical activity breaks when I am stuck in a task, can’t get started, or can’t switch from one task to another. I use push ups, Heavy Hands, dumb bells, bar bell - whatever is easiest to get into in the moment.

I’ve had therapy clients I walk or run with, and physical activity has often enhanced the therapeutic process.

I’ve worked with soldiers who are experiencing PTSD symptoms because of combat experience. Sometimes they are over-powered by the memories of war. We’ve agreed at the start of therapy that when that happens to a degree that is detrimental that I can shift into “drill sergeant” mode, and order push ups. (I believe it’s important for therapists to recognize that former combatants experienced a major life and culture change when they took basic training - and that just as basic training helped to keep them alive in theater, it can still help them to survive re-entry to civilian life.)

Push ups are an amazingly effective way to break a pattern. After the push ups, clients are most often able to continue the session in a productive manner. One client realized when he felt himself being overwhelmed by trauma memories or was starting to have thoughts that the enemy was outside his house, or inside at night, that if he recognized those feelings soon enough he could start doing push ups. He and others have reported that was the most effective way they knew to overcome the psychosis (break with reality) sometimes associated with PTSD.

The push up scenario is based on the notion that basic training kept these men and women alive in war - and that it can still work to promote survival on civvy street. It’s unfortunate we don’t have a similar kind of basic training for civilians. Last year I came close to getting it when I began shotokan karate. Training two or three times a week is like healthy crack for the body (and training becomes addictive in a good way). When I take my physical breaks now, it’ll often be to do a drill of 100 punches, or blocks, or kicks. Completely shifts the physiology, and floods the brain with all sorts of good stuff.

I wrote a blog post earlier this fall on the notion of scheduling “time-ins” as brief activity periods for people who are stuck, or are losing momentum in what they are doing. The idea of a time-in is the opposite of a time-out, and is one of the most powerful ways of thinking about activity breaks I’ve come across. If you know you’re going to have trouble keeping on keeping on, schedule a five minute time-in every hour or so.

http://www.exuberanteclectic.com/2011/09/get-unstuck-use-time-ins-to-move-from.html

Now for some push ups!

Daly

PS By the way, there’s nothing more awesome than watching a former soldier doing 50 marine style push ups. Those are the ones with the hand claps. One day…this 60 year old body of mine will be able to do that!


Alexander Deliyannis wrote:
>I’ve never been a couch potato, but my physical activity has been quite limited for
>long periods in my life. I took up purposeful and regular physical exercise only after
>reading Brain Rules http://www.brainrules.net/ (the book) which I strongly
>recommend.
> >Recently I hired a personal trainer. Judging by my improved energy and
>clarity of mind, not to mention physical improvements, it is probably the best
>investments I’ve ever done.
> >By the way, Medina in Brain Rules mentions an artifact
>he conceived to work while on the treadmill. Well, it has now become a commercial
>product http://www.trekdesk.com/

 


Posted by Daly de Gagne
Nov 17, 2011 at 01:24 PM

 

Thanks for the links, Alexander - both are good!

Daly

Alexander Deliyannis wrote:
>I’ve never been a couch potato, but my physical activity has been quite limited for
>long periods in my life. I took up purposeful and regular physical exercise only after
>reading Brain Rules http://www.brainrules.net/ (the book) which I strongly
>recommend.
> >Recently I hired a personal trainer. Judging by my improved energy and
>clarity of mind, not to mention physical improvements, it is probably the best
>investments I’ve ever done.
> >By the way, Medina in Brain Rules mentions an artifact
>he conceived to work while on the treadmill. Well, it has now become a commercial
>product http://www.trekdesk.com/

 


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