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The self licking ice cream cone of: "Not enough energy to exercise"


I’ve heard the claim that energy is a zero sum game, we only have so much of it. Might be one of the most illiterate things I’ve heard, but hear it I did. The idea that expending energy through exercise will lead to increased vitality might appear counter intuitive to someone who’s never consistently done it. However, scientific research, as notedin Ratey's book "Spark," has shown that regular intense physical activity will have a major impact on energy levels, mental clarity, and overall well-being. By exploring the physiological and psychological mechanisms at play, it becomes evident how exercise acts as a potent energy booster.

"Spark," highlights the fundamental interplay between physical activity and brain function. The brain, the epicenter of energy management, thrives when stimulated through exercise. Guys like Ratey and Huberman highlite the roles of big words like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, in enhancing mood and cognitive function. Physical activity prompts the release of these chemicals creating a sense of euphoria sometimes referred to as the "runner's high”, although you absolutely DO NOT have to be running to experience it. This surge in activity uplifts mood and fosters mental clarity and focus, leading to peaked energy levels throughout the day.

One of the most compelling and important pieces of evidence provided by Ratey is the positive impact of exercise on stress reduction. In our rat race modern fast-paced lifestyle, chronic stress drains energy reserves and hinders overall well-being. Regular exercise (good stress) alleviates this bad/chronic stress by reducing cortisol levels, the hormone responsible for the body's chronic stress response. Denying this cortisol surge, physical activity prevents the energy-draining effects of chronic stress, enabling us to feel invigorated and alert.

Exercise also has a positive effect on sleep. Adequate sleep is a big factor in maintaining optimal energy levels. It helps to regulate the body's internal clock promoting better sleep patterns. Physical activity increases the production of melatonin, a hormone crucial for inducing sleep, while also promoting deeper and more restorative sleep cycles. By creating healthy sleep patterns, exercise contributes to sustained energy levels throughout the day.

Beyond the immediate physiological effects, exercise also helps increase the brain's ability to adapt and rewire itself in response to experiences. Exercise helps us learn. It essentially rewires the brain for improved energy regulation. Physical activity enhances the brain's connectivity by promoting the growth of new neurons and synaptic connections. This rewiring leads to more efficient communication within the brain's energy-regulating centers, thus optimizing energy distribution and utilization.

The connection between exercise and energy extends to long-term benefits. Regular physical activity can mitigate the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disorders, which are notorious energy sucks. By enhancing cardiovascular health and promoting efficient metabolism, exercise ensures the body's energy-producing systems function tip-top. This means increased energy reserves that are readily available for daily activities.

Incorporating exercise into one's routine need not involve marathon training or extreme feats of athleticism. (That said, don’t dog it. Push yourself.) The value of consistent, moderate to high-intensity physical activity in reaping the energy-boosting benefits cannot be over stated. Even a brisk walk or a short workout session can trigger the release of neurotransmitters and hormones that enhance energy levels. The best workout routine is the one you’ll do. The key is to find an activity that aligns with your lifestyle, ensuring long-term adherence.

Exercise isn't merely a physical endeavor; it's a powerful energy-enhancing tool that positively impacts the body and the mind. Through stress reduction, improved sleep, and increases in cognitive function, exercise blazes the trail for sustained high energy levels and heightened vitality. Physical activity optimizes energy regulation, making a compelling case for its incorporation into daily routines. Individuals who exercise can tap into an abundant source of energy that enriches their lives in multifaceted ways.

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