Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Physical Activity and Creativity

Wild Canada Geese in Apple River

Exercise for me all of my life has been an all or nothing deal.
It's mostly what determined my weight gain or weight loss.
What has helped me, has been finding activities I really love doing like dance, swimming, gardening and walking in the countryside, where I live along a tidal river and close to the ocean.

Learning about the physiological affects and effects of whatever it is I do, whether positive and negative, helps me to overcome some of my addictions and improve my health and well being.

This Spring I've been spending my days since April 21st walking with a neighbour every other day for an hour and a half. The challenge of chuggin' up a very steep hill is the hardest part, but once I get past that, the rest is a cake walk, without the cake. Give me pie!

Being very excited about getting out into the garden, on May 1st, I managed to  get digging, hoeing and raking for about 3 hours over two days, and got three types of peas planted. Who knew planting peas could be so demanding on the old bod'. I was walking a little funny after that. I'm good to go now, but there's still lots of gardening ahead, but easy does it.

It is my strong belief that physical exercise boosts creativity. I didn't know exactly how this works until today and it makes perfect sense.

I knew that approximately 90-95% of our oxygen is needed for our brains to function optimally. Breathing helps us to relax, which helps us to concentrate more effectively, and all our muscles work better.
But that's not what the really exciting bit is to know about. What is really affirming, is to know how exercise increases your creativity.

This is how it works. Physical activity focuses your mind on what you are experiencing in your body. That in turn allows for the subconscious to open up the imagination, and this is when ideas and problem solving happens.

When we exercise, the stress hormone, commonly known as cortisol, is flushed out of the body. Cortisol blocks the brains ability to function creatively, and to solve problems. Physical activity also causes the pituitary gland to release endorphins, which gives you that "runners high" feeling, or what I call the happy hormone.

Exercise helps to grow new nerves cells and synapses, resulting in the elevation of neurotrophins that also enables nerve ending growth, increasing oxygen in the blood which gives your brain mental energy.
Exercise changes your brain, and increases your creativity!

I find this information very affirming, inspiring and definitely motivating as an artist.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow morning's walk!



Judith Joseph said...

I also take long walks (1- 1 1/2 hours) at least a few times a week, more if time permits. I completely agree that walking is symbiotic with creative activity. I solve a lot of creative problems on my walks, and I get a lot of ideas. I feel it's really a lifeline, and also boosts my mood in a big way.

I love the photo of the Canada geese on the river!

Unknown said...

Thank you very much Judith for your affirming comment!

I've done so much reading and researching on this subject I finally feel like I've made that connection between my head and heart...the longest distance to travel!

In the book The Heroine's Journey by Maureen Murdock, she talks about reclaiming the sacredness of the body. This has helped me immeasurably to make that head heart connection.

Next time I go walking my friend, I'll be thinking about you Judith <3