Exercise timing and cognitive performance

This one goes out to all my high-performing friends!

We all know that  an exercise routine can improve cardiovascular health, increase bone density, maintain body weight, improve insulin response and improve balance and strength…but, did you know that movement can also lead to improved cognitive functioning? Yep, regular activity can reduce the risk of depression & anxiety, improve sleep and overall quality of life and can impact cognitive performance. 

A recent study showed that cortical oxygenation was most improved after moderate exercise while  processing speed was lower after high-intensity exercise, possibly due to fatigue. Researchers have also found that single sessions of mind-body therapies such as yoga have led to memory and processing speed improvement.

While I definitely recommend consistently incorporating a variety of movement modalities, there may be some benefit to the timing of type of exercise  as it relates to cognitive demand and performance. 

So if you have a big negotiation, presentation or meeting, maybe go for a moderate intensity workout beforehand (strength training, perhaps?) and save the HIIT training for another day or after the big *thing*. 

Read more in THIS STUDY.

end of the year reflection & flow state

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WHAT DID YOU SAY YES TO THIS YEAR? BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF – WHAT DID YOU CHOOSE EITHER CONSCIOUSLY OR BY DEFAULT?

Which of these choices served you and which do you need to let go? Decide what you want to actively choose for yourself in 2022.

DON’T PLAY SMALL   – ALL YOU’LL DO IS HIT YOUR HEAD ON THE CEILING OVER & OVER

When you’re FULLY PRESENT, operating *IN* your body, *in the zone*; when you’ve completed something that makes you feel proud of yourself, that is when you’re in alignment or  flow.  When you’ve done something you regret, you can feel both resistance and  resentment – that’s the opposite of flow. It’s pretty obvious what’s the most productive and where the growth happens.

THINK ABOUT WHO YOU ARE – WITHOUT LABELS, WITHOUT OTHER PEOPLES’ OPINIONS IN YOUR EAR AND WHO YOU KNOW YOURSELF TO TRULY BE.

Think about what is and isn’t working for you. Tune into the times that you feel your best – and if you’ve gone off that path, just think about what you know you need to do and re-route. Set yourself up for success by taking the small, daily actions you know you need to take to get back on track to reach your goals & live in alignment with your best self. Keep that commitment to yourself. 

As you move forward, strive to be in flow in your relationship with yourself: stay in your late & do your thing – without worry or comparison. Connect with the people in your life that are important to you: spend quality time, make eye contact & listen. Ask for help from someone who’s been in shoes similar to yours. And now that you’ve reflected on yourself, help someone out who needs what you have to offer.

benefits of exercise

We’re entering a busy time of year, plus it’s cold & getting dark earlier – ugh! Here are a few things to remember if you’re going thru a motivation slump when it comes to exercise.  

*although it’s fine to take a break if your body needs it – don’t push yourself when you’re extra stressed – focus on walking and meditation, maybe some gentle yoga*

  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Reduced stress response
  • Improved brain health
  • Reduced risk for chronic disease
  • Enhanced detoxification
  • Slowed aging process
  • Improved digestion

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3 blocks & 3 upgrades to improve your daily wellbeing

We all know that it’s important to eat our veggies, get moving, prioritize restful sleep, etc – but I wanted to share some common blocks to living as the best version of ourselves as well as some easy yet impactful habits to upgrade our wellbeing!

Watch out for these pitfalls:

  • Distraction: It can be easy to become bored & always looking for the next shiny object instead of staying the course, remaining focused & continuing the work you started
  • Unrealistic expectations: We all want the quick-fix, but trust me – there’s no such thing.  Again, gotta stay the course & put in the work!
  • Bad Habits: A history of poor choices – food, alcohol, negative thinking, mindless behaviors (hello, scrolling) are big obstacles that require mindful work to overcome. 

Try these UPGRADES to improve your wellbeing:

  • Don’t underestimate the power of an accountability partner! Having someone you trust that you can turn to – whether it’s  for encouragement or commiseration is a powerful tool! You may enlist a pal who is on the same place in the journey that you are – OR- ask someone who has been where you are now but is now further down the path to act as a mentor. 
  • Meditation and breath work – I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again – the benefits of even 5 rounds of box breathing are a potent way to decrease cortisol and re-focus on your goals when distraction (see above) starts to rear its ugly head. 
  • Get moving! ANY movement – if you have time for a full workout – go for it! – but even a 5 minute walk or quick stretch can raise your energy level (remember – oxygen is our primary fuel!)

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