Shortcuts boost your brain, body & health
Here’s an interesting piece of trivia for you… Grammy-winner Johnny Mathis was invited to try out for the 1956 Olympics. Not as a singer, but as a high jumper. The college standout had missed the standing Olympic record by just 2 inches… and he had a legitimate shot at Olympic gold.
Mathis decided music and athletics didn’t mix – at least in his case – and went on to a stellar recording career.
But music may be the perfect complement to your exercise. In fact, new research says it may just help you improve your fitness.
A study just presented to the British Psychological Society examined the link between music and athletic performance. And it shows you may train better when you listen to your favorite music.
The study looked at runners, netball players and “footballers” (soccer players). In all three cases, listening to their favorite music while training helped these athletes feel more “in the zone.” The music also lowered their sense of exertion.1
If you feel as though you’re exerting yourself less, your workouts will be more enjoyable. And if you get to listen to your favorite music at the same time, all the better. Whether you love Classical or R&B, it appears you’ll get more out of your workouts.
If you’d like to boost the emotional benefits of exercise, head to the beach.
I’ve mentioned before that studies show outdoor activities provides psychological benefits over indoor activities. But this study went further, comparing active pursuits in urban parks, woodlands and at the coast.
The team from Britain’s Peninsula College found all three outdoor environments provide benefits. But exercise along the coast led to the greatest feelings of enjoyment, calmness, refreshment.2
And that may just be a shortcut to building better heart health.
A review just published in Psychological Bulletin looked at studies of heart trouble and various measures of “well-being.” They found that one measure – optimism – was clearly related to a lower risk of heart trouble.3
Harvard researchers have even put a number on it. They followed the health and attitudes of 1,306 men. After an average of 10 years, the most optimistic men were up to 56% less likely to experience certain common heart problems.4
We’ve looked at some shortcuts to better physical health. Now let’s look at two that could boost your brainpower.
Have you ever been in a situation where you had to really use your brain? No matter how well you handled the situation, you might have performed better if you’d had some water handy.
I can’t think of too many circumstances more stressful than college exams. The pressure to perform is immense. Lots of college kids burn themselves out during exam week.
British researchers discovered one simple way students could improve their performance. Just drink water.
They compared 447 students, taking into account their overall grades and their performance on exams. Those who brought water with them into their exams consistently scored better than those who didn’t.5
So, the next time you have a high-pressure situation, stay hydrated. It just may boost your results.
If you want to boost your creativity, here’s an easy way to do it…
Try “open monitoring” meditation.
Open monitoring is observant meditation. You sit quietly and simply observe what you think and feel, without judging or focusing attention on any particular thing. You’re simply receptive to what you think and experience.
When a Dutch team tested people for creativity before and after this style of meditation, they found a spike in a form of creativity called Divergent Thinking (DT).6
DT is the ability to generate many new and different ideas. It’s particularly useful for entrepreneurs and others who need to “think outside the box.”
And it’s an easy way to enhance your reputation.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team1 “Listening to your favourite music boosts performance,” British Psychological Society. Apr 18, 2012.
2 “Being Beside the Seaside is Good for You,” Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry. Apr 19, 2012.
3 Boehm, J.K. and Kubzansky, L.D. “The Heart’s Content: The Association Between Positive Psychological Well-Being and Cardiovascular Health.” Psychol Bull. 2012 Apr 16. [Epub ahead of print]
4 Kubzansky, L.D., et al, “Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full? A Prospective Study of Optimism and Coronary Heart Disease in the Normative Aging Study,” Psychosomatic Medicine. 2001; 63: 910-916.
5 “Bring water into exams to improve your grade,” British Psychological Society. Apr, 16 2012.