Key Takeaways:

Choose an MBA in Mind-body alignment to help you age healthily and happily. Learn the simple steps you can choose for a better mind-body alignment today!

You should CHOOSE an MBA degree. It’s as simple as reading this article and following the advice given. 

I chose my namesake poet, two Stoics, and scientist Hans Senye to build a case for your vital Mind-Body Alignment (MBA).

And, I CHOOSE* to share how minds and bodies can be aligned for better work, play, and overall longevity.

Hint: Do not be sedentary!

Why?

…cognitive decline … may be partly related to our sedentary habits.” according to Scientific American.

That phrase, I CHOOSE*, is a memory aid for your notable MBA for longevity and wellness.

Spoiler alert – this image does not indicate a cohesive MBA pursuit!


And away we go…

1. Do human brains benefit from exercise?

Absolutely! My distant Uncle Robert Frost wrote that a brain: 

“starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until …you get into the office.”

I advocate that you work your brain– after your exercise – and wherever you find your office.

A picture containing textDescription automatically generated
ref: https://exercisewalls.blogspot.com 

Connections and Wrinkles 

Each sea-horse shaped hippocampus in one’s inner brain becomes a mindful MBA mascot. 

Salk Institute scientists found that exercise stimulates growth of our two hippocampi and their networked chemical circuits.

Three “happy mood” chemical messengers – (1) Serotonin, (2) Dopamine and (3) Oxytocin should flow freely around our brains and in our endocrinal systems. 

  1. Serotonin levels are boosted by exercise, sunlight and during restorative sleep. 
  2. Dopamine surges with exercise and protein consumption. 
  3. Oxytocin, commonly called the hugging hormone, is elevated with even the thought of embracing or intimacy. 
See these chemical movements in action by clicking here: https://giphy.com/embed/2wRLDz95iZ3YhSn9pK

Consider how 3 monoamine messenger levels vary as our modes change among: depression, anxiety, happiness and love with the graphic above. In a perfect world, we want more happiness and love - yes? Our minds and bodies can get those happy messengers rising with “right” activities.

A fourth key chemical messenger, norepinephrine increases: attention, focus and memory storage. Yes, it also helps with our reptilian fight or flight responses to peril. Yet, let’s think of this natural booster, norepinephrine, with higher functions in mind. It, too, is amped by exercise. 

Yes, we can and should live better with intrinsic, organic chemistry working for us.

Game On! 

Listen to this...  Both young electronic gamers and older folks benefit from exercise before their memory tasks!  A little heart rate and a little sweat before a test or challenge HELPS us do our  best thinking – honest.

In short, Exercise improves execution of memory tasks in our “higher” brain.

What type of exercise?

Take a road less traveled for a walk, a jog or trail ride. That unusual route is better for you than “normal” repetitive street movement. 

Mix up your resistance (strength) training regularly, though you may not be an uber-CrossFit athlete. 

Stretching and stability routines can be adjusted for asymmetrical stances, or using unsteady surfaces like a Swedish ball, BOSU ball, or a spongy yoga pad. 

Why?

Immersion improves cognition.

We benefit from twists and turns, ups and downs of unusual exercise paths! Or, as Scientific American offers,

“exercise that is cognitively stimulating may indeed benefit the brain more…”  

Get immersed in varied activities, from Aerobics to Zumba – from A to Z

Get stimulated.

As our National Institute of Health offers,

“A nutritious diet, physical activity, social engagement, and mentally stimulating pursuits … might also help reduce risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Don’t stay seated or be sedentary for too long. If you need to stay seated: literally reach for the stars, give yourself big hugs, twist and touch your toes.  Inhale deeply and be breath-taking to boost your brain.

New Science – Old Convictions  

Two Stoics, Seneca and Epictetus, wrote about mind body alignment ~ 20 centuries ago. Those Stoics took gym activity seriously. Just as we [both men and women] should today.  

Seneca stressed the need to:

 “balance exercise of the mind with exercise of the body… …But whatever you do, come back quickly from body to mind."   Epistle 15 [2]
Epictetus offered; “if you form the habit of … exercises, you will see what mighty shoulders you develop, what sinews, what vigour….”   Discourses, II, 19 [3]

Yes, these gym gents were early use it or lose it thinkers.  Notably, they were keen on short, high intensity exercise too.  

Takeaway?

To preserve brain functions and keep happy hormones flowing: Exercise mindfully.

So, What’s your Degree choice?

I CHOOSE, as those Stoics urged, a habitual degree for longevity and anti-aging.

Do you?

Our theme of CHOOSING your path has these memory aid signposts:

I:  Immersion – Do not let events be mundane, too-repetitive, or lose their dazzle. Mix your activities up to stimulate your mind and body. Dive into new variations of your workouts and be the better for that.

C: Chemistry. Four elements – Oxygen, Carbon, Hydrogen and Nitrogen constitute 96% of our body weight! One’s correct intuition is to prime our minds and bodies by replenishing these elements.  

Carbohydrates as essential macronutrients for our mind and body.

Add some chemical bonds to carbohydrates in chains. Then attach Nitrogen and PRESTO! We have organic proteins.  Happy chemical messengers – dopamine and serotonin- are such proteins. 

If you are low on metabolized protein, your happy hormones may be low too.  

H: for H-O-H or H2O – cool, clear life-sustaining water. Half or more of a healthy adult’s body weight is water.  

  • Question: What is an early and powerful indicator of decreased mental or physical performance?  Answer: DEHYDRATION.  
  • When you sense thirst, you are about a quart low on H2O.  So, fill ‘er up to maintain your mental and physical performance.  
  • Wait - don’t forget our four (4) happy Hormones.
  • Wait, wait - recall those seahorse-shaped centers in our deep brains – the hippocampi which do have neuroplasticity.

O: Oxygen is the dominant element in our bodies (~65% by weight). Replenish it with every mindful breath! Yet there is a flip side to oxygen as a situational inflammatory agent:

O: Oxidative Stress – Bad boy O is a free radical “rust” caused by environmental toxins, smoking, chronic stress, excess sunlight or believe it or not – exercise. If our bodies don’t receive adequate micronutrients as counters. Exercise, then get your ample phytonutrients from plants and vegetables, please.

S: for restorative Sleep. Mimic Morpheus with regular, restorative sleep. Each MBA student is different, yet all-nighters are NOT good.  In fact – staying awake for 18 hours is tantamount to inebriation. Drinking is not a grade enhancer.

Stress is also a major factor for MBA progress or regression.

E: for Exercise because Seneca would have wanted it that way. 

Eating – clean, anti-inflammatory eating – is a MBA imperative.

CHOOSE to align your minds and bodies with three simple elements: 

  1. Glucose, 
  2. Oxygen and 
  3. Sleep.    

What you eat and when you eat can affect both your scholarly and bodily pursuits. Note: Diets which are high in refined and simple sugars, are harmful triggers for central obesity and mental fatigue.  

Let your gut and blood system convert glucose from complex carbohydrates, then shuttle this “high octane fuel” to your memory “muscle”.

Yes! Brains are malleable when worked or played!

Fear Not!

A stressful situation aka DISTRESS triggers our fight or flight stress hormone cortisol. Distress interferes with our neural growth. Prolonged stress impairs our ability to learn and maintain physical health.  

According to Louis Cozolino a professor of psychology at Pepperdine University,  Fear interferes with higher brain functioning. Fear shuts down exploration, and mindful curiosity. We are born to explore – curiously!”

Success in school, and in long healthy lives, depends on how we decrease our stress. As Hans Selye stated, 

it is NOT stress that kills us.

Rather it is our reaction to it!

Robert Frost offered that “if we couldn’t laugh, we’d all go insane.” 

So, remember to stay sane and to move curiously.

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Summary 

Now you are ready to put your MBA elements together for longevity!

Be a modern Oracle, like Seneca and Epictetus. 

And remember this cautionary closing from Robert Frost,

Don’t devote too much of your life to one body part - your Wishbone.  

May 17, 2022
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