Beyond The Bodily Benefits -
Written by Jeremy Bhandri

For years, I thought of exercising as a one-way street, a potent, somatic activity that merely elevates one’s bodily presence. I saw it as a feat that, if ferociously focused on, can transform one’s corporeal character, allowing them to interface with the world from a more-dominant angle, while also putting them in a position to excel in any physical endeavor. As a teenager, around the time when I began my fitness journey, all I hoped was that I could revamp my body so that, at its peak, it would be something that I was proud of. Like Pablo Picasso when he meticulously crafted Guernica, or Nas, when he ever-so-eloquently penned the incredibly-vivid lyrics on Illmatic. I just wanted to put in the work with the hopes of cultivating a compelling product. In this life, at least to our knowledge, you only get to dwell in one being, so might as well push it to its natural limits to see what you can construct, right?

As the days flew by, with this aim in mind, and through consistent effort, I was able to productively work towards my ideal destination point. Yet, as I continued to put more time into the craft, sticking to a routine, and habitually alternating which muscles I would train to create the best all-around results, I quickly noticed that beyond my body getting stronger, so too was my mind. After each workout, I could physically sense that my ability to focus on the present moment was getting better and better. Beyond the increase in my concentration levels, with each succeeding gym session, I found it easier and easier to retain information and also noticed that, within my personal work, I was able to effectively expound my creative concepts at a very strong rate.

Aside from the mental boosts, I also observed that my overall appreciation for life had been perpetually increasing. During my waking hours, I felt happier, and, frankly, more alive, than I had ever been before. In this new, revitalized character, I was able to adequately script my first book, Trust The Grind, which is a nonfiction, self-help sports story that was created to assist young athletes as they continue to embark on their recreational odyssey. In the project, I interviewed 16 world-class athletes, and paired each legendary competitor with a particular productive tendency that they specifically believed helped them reach the pinnacle of their profession. For example, baseball icon, Chipper Jones was matched with the section surrounding the importance of setting goals, basketball superstar, Jason Kidd, was paired with the piece concerning the need to develop self-discipline, and UFC great, Georges St-Pierre, was the focal point for the chapter based on the value of obsessing over your craft.

Anyways, after the product’s publication, I possessed a strong desire to create new material. However, this time around, I wanted to appropriately give thanks to the miraculous activity that allowed me to take worthwhile strides in my literary career. That activity, of course, being physical fitness.

Rather than zoning-in on the obvious bodily benefits that stem from a consistent workout plan, my focus with the book, Functional Training For The Mind, was to forcefully outline , through a mix of neuroscience, first-hand experience, and recently-published human studies, the under-appreciated perks that one reaps when they stay committed to the fitness grind.

Solely interested on the aforementioned mental and emotional rewards, I began my research, and, to my surprise, was enthusiastically blown away by the impactful findings. Quite obviously, because of my forenamed involvement with fitness, I naturally assumed that the science would defend my claims around how exercise enhances one’s focus and emotional status, yet, the more I dug into the data, the more I discovered that physical movement, as an isolated activity, might be the most beneficial act one could take on a daily basis to help create the best possible outcomes in their personal affairs.

I know that might sound a tad hyperbolic, but hear me out. Did you know that, after every spirited cardiovascular session, one that lasts at least 20 minutes, you are amazingly increasing the physical size of your hippocampus? Which, for those unfamiliar, is the area in your brain that is responsible for helping human’s breakdown and recapture memories, and is also closely connected with learning. Interestingly enough, past research has revealed that the magnitude of one’s hippocampus has been positively linked with IQ, meaning the bigger your hippocampus, the better your logic, and problem-solving skills will be.

In addition, amidst any authentic aerobic activity, naturally, your heart beats at an upbeat rate. Simultaneously, your circulation increases. Due to this, oxygenated blood gets to your muscles at a rapid speed, and a profound amount of oxygen is shipped directly to your brain, which matters more than you can imagine. Through scientific studies, researchers found that those with a maximum rate of oxygen consumption absorbed by way of a physical workout, meaning individuals who customarily push their bodies in the gym, were linked with strong cognitive function skills, and tenacious mental abilities like effective time management, planning, and organizational talents.

From an emotional standpoint, following the completion of a vigorous workout, all lively being’s brains are blessed with a healthy dose of serotonin, an impactful neurotransmitter that elevates our internal happiness levels. Subject-matter experts in the neuroscience space have linked high-levels of serotonin in the brain with a high-degree of self-confidence, meaning the more you exercise, the more of the dynamic monoamine neurotransmitter you obtain, which results in a steady increase in your self-belief status.

So, when it comes to putting energy towards an activity that can conclusively assist you in your everyday life, is there really a motion more influential than physical exercise? Is there another puissant action that can drastically skyrocket your self-confidence condition, while also ascending your mental aptitude skills to their apex, which, in turn, allows you to efficiently achieve whatever it is that you desire?

If interested in learning more about how the brain operates when routinely ‘on fitness’, check out my book here.

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