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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Monday, September 22, 2008

EXERCISE FOR THE BRAIN

For me, daily exercise is more about the brain than the dress size. If I go two days without walking, biking, or moving in some form, I begin to feel sluggish and writing becomes a struggle. About two years ago I decided to make exercise a priority and I’ve never been happier.

All month on the Wet Noodle Posse we’ve been talking about staying healthy and positive. FOR ME, exercise is the key to staying happy and healthy. Exercise in ANY form rejuvenates me. I’ve been trying new things like hiking and kayaking (see picture). Exercise doesn’t have to take a lot of time either. Jog to the mailbox and back. Walk the dog. Walk the kid. Take the family kayaking or hiking for a few hours next Sunday. It’s a FUN and inexpensive way to get outdoors and see the world.

According to Wikipedia, exercise is beneficial to the brain by:

- increasing the blood and oxygen flow to the brain

- increasing growth factors that help create new nerve cells and promote
synaptic plasticity (helps strengthen the connection of two neurons)

- increasing chemicals in the brain that help cognition (the processing
of information)

There are so many conflicting reports on how much exercise is good for you. I’m not a doctor, but I say do what feels right for you. And, of course, if you have health problems, consult a doctor first!

It’s easy to exercise every day because so many daily activities count as exercise. For instance, gardening counts! So does housecleaning or walking up and down the stairs. I spent two hours on Saturday pulling weeds and pruning. That was my exercise for the day!

What do you do to keep yourself moving? What’s your favorite exercise?

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18 Comments:

At 6:24 AM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Hi, Theresa,
I belong to Curves and, for me, it has been the most successful at getting me to exercise regularly. I still slack off sometimes.
I do admire your love of activity! and that photo of you is priceless!

 
At 6:47 AM, Blogger Norah Wilson said...

Great blog, Theresa. And yes, great photo! You look so happy and fit. :-)

And you're right on about exercise being good for the brain. It can actually help slow down or stave off brain diseases like Parkinson's, especially if started early in life. But even later in life, it can slow down the aging of our brains. It's also extremely thereapeutic for people who are subject to depression. Throw in all the physical benefits of exercise, and it's --(can you see it coming?) -- a no brainer.

 
At 7:11 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

LOL, Norah! Yes, I saw that coming. Love it! Definitely therapeutic.

Hello, Diane! I've never tried Curves but I've heard great things about that place.

 
At 10:26 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

I walk and throw in weights a few times a week. I just did my four miles this morning. Rather than making me exhausted, exercising energizes me.

Love the kayak picture!

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

You look so cool in that picture! Joe and I did sea-kayaking once and loved it. It's still one of the pros we list when we contemplate moving to the coast.

Bicycling and treadmill are my two most frequent exercises. And housecleaning. Stairs are a good thing.

 
At 11:26 AM, Blogger Keli Gwyn said...

Theresa,

I'm not much for exercise, but I enjoy a brisk walk to town. Since I live in a beautiful Gold Rush era setting, I take in the lovely Victorian homes en route and end up downtown where several of the buildings date back to the 1850s. I'm so taken in by the scenery that I forget I'm exercising.

And fall is such a nice time to walk. I love crunching through the crisp leaves and reveling in the cooler temperatures following a blistering summer in the Sierra foothills.

I often return from a walk ready to delve into my writing with renewed energy.

 
At 12:02 PM, Blogger janegeorge said...

Theresa, you're so right and you look so happy in that kayak.

I went ocean kayaking for the first time this year and chummed the sea otter. The ocean was so enormous and fascinating that I didn't care I was seasick. Lucky my partner was a seasoned kayaker. As soon as I dove over the side to cast up my accounts, she quickly leaned the other way, saving us from swimming with the otter.

A good walk often helps me to come up with a solution to a plotting problem.

Keli,

Your hometown sounds like a great setting for a romance novel! Is it Murphys, CA? I love Murphys.

 
At 12:38 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

It sounds like we all agree that a great scenery can make all the difference when walking because you forget that you're exercising!

Esri and Jane, I haven't been kayaking in the ocean. Sounds like a blast.

I have seen a River otter in the lake before though...SO cute!

Keli, your town sounds amazing. I love Victorian homes.

 
At 12:38 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Mo, I tried bringing weights on a regular walk once and it made a huge difference. I didn't think I was going to make it back. I need to try that again with lighter weights! :)

 
At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Cathy Katz said...

I couldn't agree more with Theresa's opinion about exercise. It was difficult for me to make exercise a priority but once I did, my life changed. My favorite way to start the day (besides a cup of coffee) is walking the dog, the stairmaster, weights, hiking and pilates. Theresa is so right concerning how exercise has changed my outlook toward my day and my life. Cathy Katz

 
At 4:18 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Hi Cathy, thanks for stopping by! Pilates would be a good one for me. I don't do enough stretching...

 
At 8:48 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Okay, now I feel like a COMPLETE couch potato! Does walking all over Wal-Mart for 8 hours a day and yelling at people count as exercise? How about downstacking pallets of frozen bread dough in boxes that weigh between 30 and 50 pounds while standing in a walk in freezer? Does that count? I am usually the last person out so I mop the entire bakery floor every night. Does that count?

Now that the weather is cooling off I think I would like to start walking on a regular basis. There is a Curves right across the street from Wallyworld. I KNOW I need to exercise more, but there never seems to be enough time.

Theresa, that is a great photo! My brothers are very big into canoeing, kayaking and white water rafting. I can't swim so I am less enthused about those activities.

I walked all the time when I lived in Germany. It was so easy to walk to town and do my shopping. And there were walking paths through some lovely woods in the little village where I lived.

Now I have dirt roads to walk and I have to take a big stick in case the neighbors' half-feral dogs show up! Of course that is probably better for my health. It turns my walk into a run!

 
At 10:16 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

You don't sound like a couch potato to me, Louisa! 8 hours of all that hard labor sounds like plenty of exercise to me! Just not the fun kind of exercise. And I know you take care of a lot of animals, too.

On the other hand, the walks in Germany sound wonderful. And those half-feral dogs don't sound very comforting. Darn. I wish I could offer you up a better alternative. Your not a swimmer, huh?

Do you have any nice reservoirs or lakes nearby that you could visit on the weekends? BTW, how many brothers do you have?

 
At 10:30 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Thanks, Theresa! Yes, I do play with nine very rowdy outside dogs on a daily basis and three very active inside dogs as well.

There is a nice river walk in our little town. I usually only go down there when they have the world championships of trick kayaking. Amazing stuff and I would not have known about it were it not for my brothers. I have two younger brothers - James, 3 years younger and Brian, 6 years younger. Both are enthusiastic sportsmen and water sports are a favorite.

I am in the process of installing chain link fence around my barbed wired pasture so the dogs can use it as a play yard. It is about 1.5 acres and since my horse passed away it has not seen much use. I would love to be able to turn everyone loose at the same time rather than just a few at a time. Now THAT would be exercise - chasing them all around that field and playing frisbee and tug a war with them!

 
At 6:30 AM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

"Favorite"? I dread exercise. Right now, though, I'm going to the Y for my stint on the recumbent bike. It's the least dreaded exercise for me because 1) it's in an air-conditioned room and 2) I can read at the same time without worrying about losing my balance.

If we lived somewhere with a halfway decent climate, I'd probably go back to walking.

 
At 8:39 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Good for you, Terry! You still do the dreaded exercise anyhow! :)

And Louisa, I bet the fence would help matters! Let me know when it's finished! Take care of yourself, too. YOu work too hard.

 
At 10:58 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

Theresa, I have a kayak too! Actually three of them. We could have a kayaking party at Folsom Lake!!!
~Caroline

 
At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Sally C. said...

Hi Theresa,
That kayaking looks like fun! I'll have to try that. I like walking the dog and i've just started taking 2 pound weights with me. my arms and hands killed me the first day after but now it's not too bad. I want to find other exercising besides walking that I like so maybe I'll try the kayaking!

 

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