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Okay, let's get into this.
Imagine you’re a high-ranking executive at a pharmaceutical giant.
A badass in a suit and tie.
You got the corner office with the wet bar and a view overlooking the city…
When you walk in any room, people rush to kiss your ass and hang on your every word.
Vice President You. A big wig. A hot shot.
And for good reason…
Your job is to decide which new drugs get approved for research, testing, and development…
And today is potentially the most important day of your career.
Because in a few moments, you’re going to hear a pitch for potentially the single most valuable new drug ever developed.
You’ve seen the product spec sheet, you’ve seen the research…
And it blows every other drug out of the water. You’ve never seen anything like this before.
In fact, you’re a little shocked at how excited you are to learn more about it.
Here’s what the drug does:
- It improves patients’ cardiovascular health and protects them from heart disease.
- It improves blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Improves insulin sensitivity.
- It protects patients’ brains from degenerative diseases.
- Accelerates learning by 20%.
- It improves joint health.
- It improves mobility and flexibility.
- It improves immune system response.
- It cures depression.
- It cures erectile dysfunction.
- It cures obesity.
- It helps patients’ fight cancer.
- It creates new neural pathways.
- It increases brain derived neurotrophic factor by 32%.
- It automatically builds new muscle and new mitochondria.
But maybe the best part: it has absolutely zero side-effects, something that is unheard of in your industry.
After the presentation is over, you’re blown away.
You realize that this drug is going to change the world and nothing will be the same once it hits the market.
The name of this drug?
It’s called: Exercise.
Now, the point of this little thought experiment is to demonstrate exactly how UNDERRATED exercise is.
If there was a pill that did all the above without any side-effects…
Every single person on planet earth would be taking it religiously, every single day, without fail.
As it stands, only 22.9% of Americans get enough exercise.
In my opinion, given the obesity epidemic we have and the fact that exercise could 100% solve it within a matter of months…
For free, without any actual drugs…
That’s a national embarrassment.
Almost all scientists agree that exercise is perhaps THE most beneficial things you can do for your body.
But exercise is also the best thing that you can do for your MIND.
Okay, but why?
Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor Speeds Up Learning
We are learning more and more about how our brains are connected to the movement of our body.
In schools, kids that have higher fitness scores almost always have better test scores.
This is why in Taiwan and in South Korea, they increased physical education from twice a week to three times a week for this very reason.
Why is this the case?
A 2016 study showed that high impact sprinting led to a 20% increase in learning speed in test subjects.
This is because we’ve found that just 20 to 40 minutes of aerobic exercise increases the amount of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) by 32%.
BDNF is a protein that your brain uses to grow and change its infrastructure so your neurons can work quicker and faster.
More BDNF means your brain can change, adapt, and learn quicker.
Biologically, our motivation to do ANYTHING is controlled by dopamine in the brain.
Dopamine is the “happiness” molecule that lets our brains know that what we’re doing is good...so we get rewarded with a dopamine rush.
Patients that suffer from ADHD often experience improvements with the drug Adderall because it mimics the dopamine and reward systems of the brain.
It makes every task--no matter how small--super interesting because the brain is dishing out dopamine for every little thing.
However, exercise does the exact same thing. It spikes dopamine and it also increases the number of dopamine receptors in the brain.
But the benefits of exercise on your brain are not limited to learning faster and being more productive.
Exercise and Mental Health
A 2007 study compared the effects of exercise against a common anti-depression drug called Zoloft.
The results were insane.
The study concluded that “The efficacy of exercise in patients seems generally comparable with patients receiving antidepressant medication and both tend to be better than the placebo in patients with MDD.”
But it’s not just depression.
A separate 2006 study looked at over 19,000 Dutch twins and their families and found that those that “regular exercise is cross-sectionally associated with lower neuroticism, anxiety and depression and higher extraversion and sensation seeking in the population.”
But there’s one final benefit of exercise to your mind and it’s all about fight or flight.
Exercise and Stress
Our bodies are wired so that when we feel stress from ANYTHING…
Our brains dump a bunch of cortisol. It’s like a cortisol bath in your head.
Now, cortisol is a hormone that is great for helping your survive a stressful situation like when a tiger is charging you or when you have to sit in traffic.
But this is what’s supposed to happen with cortisol:
- You detect you’re in danger.
- Cortisol increases.
- You run, fight, or get out of danger.
- Cortisol decreases.
However, in our modern life, not only are we under a lot of stress almost all the time…
But we also do not give ourselves time to relax and let those cortisol levels decrease.
However, if you exercise in the morning, you can experience that increase in cortisol and then rest to let it decrease.
Why is this good?
Because if you sit around all day with your brain soaking in cortisol, it not only makes you fat, but it also degrades the electrical connections in your brain.
Now, if you’re reading this email, there is a good chance that you’re already experiencing the benefits of exercise.
But it’s always good to give yourself a reminder and encouragement about why you’re doing it and to keep going. Keep learning, keep up the good work.
Live like a lion.
- Mike Rashid King