Every day that you strive to live in the manner of THPL there is an implied connection made between fitness and learning. High performance comes when you are functioning high on the mental and the physical level at the same time. Good mindset, strong body, positive attitude – it is easy to see when these conditions exist that the state of your physical performance will be at a high level. This explicit connection starts with an active mind that is knowledgeable about the task ahead, it is practiced, and familiar, and it understands the range of thought required for high performance. Simultaneously, the body is fit, not compromised, it is strong and tested at a range of speeds and conditions. This harmony of mind and body is when you can achieve ever increasing levels of performance on a physical level. And it translates into how you run faster, jump higher, swim longer etc.
The other side of the THPL is more interesting (in my opinion) and it is discussed less and it works in the other direction. That is, exercise and fitness activities are known to increase brain function. It is your movement, and physical strain and motions associated with physical activity that actually can increase the brains ability to process information, to learn and remember more easily, to improve general cognitive functions and to improve overall mental acuity. There have been a few seminal pieces of research to support this thesis. The book Spark, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain , written by John Ratey, makes the case for improved brain function by using daily exercise to improve the neuron plasticity in the brain (the ability to make connections and then recall). His research showed that regular cardio workouts improved your ability to store and recall information. In effect the body produced higher levels of dopamine in reaction to the exercise and the brain benefited from this and used the “lubrication” to make it easier to store info. In my study of one (me) I can confidently assert that my memory / recall ability has improved measurably over the 14 year journey where I have integrated exercise into my daily life.
And this work has once again been affirmed with new research, published in the NYTimes (http://nyti.ms/ZDbv3F) that outlines how exercise has even reversed some of the inevitable aging process by creating a more vibrant and healthy brain.
So, it seems that there is a real THPL connection and that exercise serves two purposes – get more fit, which makes life better and improve brain function so that you are better at all that you do. And when the two come together what you realize is that you have found THPL – and it is reachable and it has a very meaningful and explicit benefit.
So, start your engines – your brain is waiting for you to do so…..
Dateline April 12 – Sally seemed just as hard as usual, no great feeling, got to the end of the 3:26 minutes + the typical 20 seconds, some rest and then on to the next pushup challenge. Well, somehow, out of nowhere I rocked it tonight and surpassed my goal of 247 pushups with a record (for me) of 250 pushups in 4 minutes 17 seconds. What seemed impossible a few short months ago was achieved tonight. I had a good feeling when I was able to get 120 pushups completed before my first rest and I was strong going forward from there. Not sure this challenge is over – one day does not make a pattern of success so I need to see what happens tomorrow. As I reflect, I bet if we looked at the data over the past few months we would see a strong step function growth from the 120’s to 250. And that is the story of how you make progress. You work it and work it and you get cumulative benefit – then you do more work and more work and then it gives you more cumulative benefit and the process continues if you have the diligence till you get to your goal. Such the “life” experiment it has been….