That push as hard as you can exercise mentality when taken to extreme, or with certain medical conditions can be a burden to our health if not tempered. Studies have shown that for certain people exercising over 80% max threshold for 30 minutes or more can raise cortisol (stress hormone) levels over 80% – which can in turn actually prevent us from achieving our intended exercise goals.
Let's look at two categories of exercise: Mentally engaging vs. habitual.
Habitual : That's more of the stereotype – running, our “cardio” time – however I did promise exercise guru Dr. Steve Blair I would not perpetuate that term. We do not really have to think about it. Habitual exercise is fabulous for cardio respiratory fitness, fat burn or as I call it “getting our ya yas out”. It is a fabulous time for extrospective thought. I always say I do my very best problem solving, brainstorming during cardio time. I have been known when asked a question to reply “Let me cardio on it”. Great time to pump the iPod & soar, reach new levels of personal performance & pride. Yes, the sweat should be glimmering giving us that “healthy glow”. The stinkier the better – that's why showers were created.and can be oh so …
Exercise that increases heart rate, that makes us glisten like the most brilliant diamond – actually lengthen telomeres – the true science of why exercise is the best anti aging serum – not those over priced cosmetic serums you pay to have their marketing department dupe you. Gym membership: average $ 400 / year less than 20% of a city's population belong to a gym. The “anti aging” cosmetic industry – billions.
Mentally Engaging : Focus. Soooooo important – an equally brilliant shine to our diamond. Aka “mindful exercise” – is about turning the focus inward. Breathe deep, focus on our breathing and every tiny movement of our body. Take it slow, listen to our body's response to the movement, heed to the rhythm of our heartbeat – and please put the iPod away for this! Ever watch someone do bicep curls to Kanye? Strength training, yoga, Pilates, qigong, meditation … all of these merit mindful performance.
Among the many physical, strength, endurance aspects of mentally engaging exercise there are an equal number of psychological benefits. Far too often in life we go around in what I call “robomode” … we act without thought. Mindful activities – including mindful eating, mindful exercising providing magnificent mind boosting & cognitive strength – as well as discipline – how the body does crave discipline – which too needs to be exercised. And yes, we can break a serious sweat during mentally engaging physical activity.
Not sure truth or fable – but makes a romantic chick flick – Juan Ponce de Leon set sail to find the elusive “fountain of youth” … but unfortunately he went looking in Florida. We each have our own fountain of youth – our own sweat. Our sweat repeatedly is proven to be the fountain of youth for Shine bright like a diamond!