So, you’ve just finished your workout, you’re heading for the shower, and you’re feeling great – tired, maybe even exhausted, but your endorphins are still high and your mind is clear of all the stress and worry that was in there not so long ago…here are 3 things to do to maximize the benefit of your hard work:
1. Re-hydrate! Not an option, a must – especially if you sweat a lot…
2. Suck down a healthy carb + protein post-workout smoothie! Quickly replacing spent glucose stores and boosting concentrations of amino-acid protein building blocks for muscle repair is definitely a good idea…
3. Think! Yes, THINK!
Studies in the U.S., the UK, and British Columbia have shown that our brain’s cognitive might, including problem-solving abilities, are significantly improved both during & after moderate to intense (‘cardio’) exercise. Studies from the University of British Columbia and Harvard showed increase in both the growth & the activation of the thinking, learning, & memory areas of the brain with just 1 hour of intense walking twice a week. Maintaining this regular moderate to intense ‘cardio’ exercise routine for 6 months or longer resulted in even more benefit. And the benefits don’t stop there – behavioral & learning researchers at Stanford showed that creative problem solving abilities were significant improved for a moderate-paced treadmill walking group versus a sitting group. Some studies have shown that even a single bout of exercise can produce cognitive benefits extending 2-3 months after! These types of changes are now being credited with holding off early onset of Dimentia, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s – talk about game (& life) changers!
Bottom line: some type of moderate to high intensity cardio workout, even if it’s just a brisk walk around the neighborhood, needs to be bumped up to high priority on your to-do list, especially when life throws you a mental challenge. Whether it’s that work-related issue you’ve been stressed about, a project you’ve been stewing on, or a personal / relationship problem you’ve been trying to hammer out, this is just 1 more reason to NOT skip that trip to the gym!