Exercise makes you even more brilliant.
- 1 March 2018
Ten years ago I became aware that the world of neuroscience research was an exciting one. For the first time it felt that the bright colours and images showing up on an MRI scans actually gave me an insight and understanding of my own behaviours, thoughts and feelings and what I can do to look after myself better.
It was also around the same time that I started running. Now, I’m not naturally a sporty person. I was never someone to be chosen for a team at school. In fact my greatest sporting achievement was to be picked for the Hockey A-team as goal keeper – a role I was happy to undertake because the team were so good that I spent most of my time shouting encouragement while the ball stayed safely on the other end of the pitch. Running often feels really difficult and my whole body hurts. However, learning to run gave me a real sense of achievement, a feeling of euphoria, and a smug sense of satisfaction for the rest of the day. I soon realise it also gave me a time to think and helped me make sense of the world and my to-do list. There are times when I feel so busy I can barely justify taking the time, but despite this a short run in the morning would help me return to my desk with a new focus and energy that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
I was particularly interested therefore when I watched Wendy Suzuki’s TED talk this week. As a neuroscientist she has discovered the joy of exercise but she’s also able to explain that the dopamine and serotonin rush we get lasts for hours after exercise (that smug feeling). She explains how exercise helps us shift our focus and attention. How a little bit of exercise helps us grow areas of the brain that supports us to be brilliant. But even more exciting, how exercise three to four times a week for 30 minutes may help us continue to be brilliant long into the future and may delay the long term effects of dementia and degenerative brain conditions.
So, if you’re facing a challenging day and needing to access your inner brilliance, how about an early morning run, a brisk walk to the office or maybe park your car half a mile away from the office and experience the warm cosy glow of the dopamine and serotonin and a fresh perspective on your challenging day.
Increasingly we are being asked about including both elements of Neuroscience and Vitality and Wellness in our programmes and this is now weaved into much of our Management Training and Leadership Programmes.
Written by Rebecca Rumsey, Coaching Director at 3GHR