Sunday, May 1, 2011

mind vs body, or mind & body...or mind BECAUSE of body? those are the questions. whether tis nobler to develop the brain whilst allowing the body to rot from the inside out; or to develop the body and let the brain evolve into a way station fro hedonistic and/or athletic purposes; or to enable the brain to develop to its maximum if not optimal potential by both engaging it and the body in which it grows - these are the issues that keep coming up in the literature of fitness/activity and mental well-being.

thus, this piece:

a lot has been published lately probably in response to the increasing numbers of baby boomers and the general aging of the population that assert exercise's value in maintaining mental function. some even allude to the anti-depressant value of exercises - done regularly, mostly aerobically, and consistently. but general moods? well, this article brings up the idea that maybe exercise in the extreme is mood altering in ways we don't want it to be. of course, extrapolating from mice to men is questionable in this case as in others.

to be fair, the authors of the study, along with the author of this article, asserted other reasons for the mice's reactions to stressors (hiding in the corner), including better survival instincts. their reactions appeared to be those of enhanced anxiety attributed to neurogenesis in the hippocampus. (other studies showed that mice with less neurogenesis in that part of the brain did not get as anxious as those with normal or more.) furthermore, other studies show that neurogenesis from running differs from other forms of neurogenesis: it actually calms you down, reduces anxiety.

so, the take home message is, don't worry, or be anxious, about growing new nerves while you run. in fact, if you run, and presumably do other forms of aerobic exercise, you actually won't worry as much as others under the same stress loads. we've known this for years, and if you are an avid exerciser, you know how much more stress you can handle than when you didn't or can't exercise. it's just that scientists are trying to figure out why.

let them worry about it.....

i came across this blog article on nutrition and thought i'd share it with you. i posted it on my facebook page, too. (STEPS Personal Fitness Training) anyway, i thought it was a valuable piece of the puzzle as most athletes and non-athletes are stymied by the many mis- and myth-conceptions of carbs and protein consumption. simply put, there is this idea that if you train empty (of blood sugar or muscle glycogen) you will get more efficient at burning fats. and there is some truth to this. however, two facts mitigate against this concept of training, esp for athletes: first, that training itself makes your body more capable of using fats for fuel in order to spare glycogen for later in the run/race; and two, burning fats is a less efficient means of producing energy and is best done at LOW intensities. thus, if you are an athlete, you are already burning fats efficiently when you perform below, say, 70% max; and since you rarely compete at that low an intensity, and need to train at higher intensities in order to raise your lactate threshold and your neurological movement patterns, why spend too much time below 70% hungry. in fact, this type of training, except for ultramarathoners who probably do compete at below 70% max, is probably counterproductive.

now, for those trying to lose weight, esp body fat, training at this or lower intensity is appropriate both for its ability to be sustainable during exercise and repeatable on a near-daily basis. however, one would have to train for longer periods of time to get the same caloric value of the exercise session that could be achieved if done at higher intensities. since the latter is not an option for those who are out of shape and overwt, go slow, burn fats, but mainly burn calories. that's because the ONLY way to lose wt is by creating caloric deficits, and while dieting is more efficient, as i've written before, only with exercise added into the program is wt loss truly sustainable.

so, go fast, go slow - don't matter. just GO!

1 comment:

  1. We see that both mind and body are expressions of life: they are parts of the whole of life. And we begin to understand their reciprocal relations in that whole. The life of man is the life of a moving being, and it would not be sufficient for him to develop body alone.


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