Q: What does movement have to do with being a Badass?
A: A lot!
Science tells us that movement reshapes the brain, opens our imaginations and invigorates our soul. Movement increases our resilience, our personal sense of satisfaction, contentment, and success. With that said, we’re just starting to scratch the surface regarding the benefits of movement.
Don’t just take my word for it, stop right now and take a brisk walk. You’ll feel the difference!
However, if you care to follow, the science is pretty impressive:
Seven Badass Benefits of Movement
Movement makes us stronger¹: The way to build up a muscle is to break it down through exercise and then let it rest. Likewise, we strengthen our nerve cells following the same mechanism. Bottom line, exercise fires up our built-in repair and recovery mechanisms resulting in stronger bodies and minds, making them more resilient and better protected against the disease.
Movement reduces and helps us manage stress and anxiety²: Cardiologists have discovered that, over time, a program of regular exercise will increase atrial natriuretic peptide (A.N.P.). This hormone secreted by the heart muscle can temper the body’s stress response and quell the “noise” we experience in the brain.
Movement increases our sense of mastery and self-confidence³: The “stress” of putting ourselves into a regular exercise routine can actually be a good thing. Participating in a predictable and controllable exercise environment has proven to give individuals a greater sense of mastery and self-confidence. It makes sense that when you learn to trust that your body can make that lift or complete a 5K you also learn to trust yourself to deal with other challenges life throws your way.
Live better and longer⁴: Getting older is inevitable but falling apart along the way is not. You’ve heard of some people living beyond one hundred with relatively few health problems while others suffer chronically. Aging can take divergent paths. Exercise can lower blood pressure, strengthen the heart and mind, and prevent osteoporosis. Such activities can divert your path to a better and longer life.
Movement lifts our mood⁵: Staying mobile, exercising and keeping up with physical activity that we enjoy is not only fun it is important. Dementia, depression and anxiety result from spending too much time on the bottom of the mood pond. Movement allows us to stay involved with others, ourselves and those things we love the most while elevating and sustaining a positive mood.
Movement boosts our immune system6: Population studies reveal that even moderate levels of activity can rally the immune system’s antibodies and lymphocytes (also known as T-cells). It’s been noted that people who are physically active reduce their risk of colon cancers by 50% lower.
Staying active elevates motivation⁷: Exercise can counteract a natural decline of dopamine. Dopamine is the key neurotransmitter in the motivation and motor system. When we have plans to play golf, go on hikes and stay busy living, our bodies produce more dopamine. In effect, exercise helps us remain active wherein inactivity can trap us into passively waiting and worrying.
If you’re still not convinced about the benefits of movement, read our rewrite of an ancient philosophy from Plato – Plato put it this way:
“In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together. With these two means, man can attain perfection.” —Plato
So, with a respectful nod toward Plato, I boldly revise:
“In order for humans to succeed in life, they come equipped with two means, gaining insight/awareness and physical activity. They come as a pair: one for the soul (gaining insights and awareness) and one for the salt (physical activity and exploration that requires salt—blood, sweat and tears). With these two elements, women and men can attain excellence.”
If being a Badass, and attaining excellence are important to you, get up and get moving right now!
1. Ratey, John J., M.D. (2008) Spark: the Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (find on Amazon here). New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.
2. Mayo Clinic Staff. (April 16, 2015) Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress – Retrieved from mayoclinic.org (find here).
3. Nikitina, Arina. (April 19, 2017) 6 Ways Exercise Can Improve Your Confidence – Retrieved from goal-setting-guide.com (find here).
4. Weuve, Jennifer, Sc.D.; Kang, Jae Hee, Sc.D.; Manson, JoAnn E. M.D. (2004). Physical Activity, Including Walking, and Cognitive Function in Older Women. Jama, 292(12):1454-1461. doi:10.1001/jama.292.12.1454 (see full article here).
5. Ratey, John J., M.D. (2008) Spark: the Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (find on Amazon here). New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.
6. American Institute for Cancer Research (May 18,2016) More Evidence of Exercise for Cancer Prevention. AICR’s Cancer Research Update. (Find on aicr.org here).
7. LeDoux, Joseph E., Ph.D. and Gorman, Jack M., M.D. (December, 2001) A Call to Action: Overcoming Anxiety through Active Coping. American Journal of Psychiatry, V.158 (Issue 12), 1953-1955 (full article here).