It’s amazing to me how much exercise — especially the aerobic variety — kickstarts my mind. And I’m not just referring to mental sharpness and quickness, but also the right side of my brain, a.k.a., the creative side.
I should admit that your Dad isn’t a natural idea man.My default mode is to build off something I’ve already seen in the wild.
Maybe that’s why I’ve gravitated to journalism, play-by-play and analysis over the years. I enjoy the process of expressing myself, of course, but breaking new ground is a struggle.
That is, it’s a struggle except when I’m on the treadmill or the track or the rink. There’s something about getting the blood pumping that allows new ideas to stream in through the window.
And, hey, it turns out there’s research to support my experience! I love when that happens. Not only does exercise stimulate the creation of new brain cells and improve memory, there’s evidence that it aids in the development of new ideas. (It turns out that creators dating back to Henry David Thoreau have believed in the power of physical movement to get the brain charged.)
My appreciation for this phenomenon is so pronounced that I often stop in the midst of a sweat session to type a few words into my phone so I don’t forget those blessed bits of inspiration.
They’re not all winners. Much like the ideas that arise while drunk — you’ll understand one day — the ideas one conjures when on a ‘runner’s high’ don’t always pass muster in more sober moments. But I find there’s little hope for me to even get to Step 1 of the creative process without some physical prompting.
I think exercise functions as a form of self-hypnosis for me. Not only does activity clear my brain of clutter, it also turns on areas that normally sit dormant.
I’ve never been terribly judgmental of athletes who take performance enhancing drugs, because I find the pursuit of excellence to be as intoxicating as anything in this life. The ends don’t always justify the means, of course. I’m just saying that I get the motivation.
Still, it’s good to know my mental PED is available over the counter and presents no moral dilemma. Time to ‘roid up! (Don’t do drugs, Tyke.)
Calories burned (active): 750
Minutes exercised: 57
Hours stood: 13
Steps taken: 10,846
Activity: Four-mile run at 8 mph
Hours shirtless: One, while running. Taking advantage of a sunny fall day. Those are rare around here.