It was actually by some miraculous force that I attended my first NeuroDevNet workshop. Okay, actually it was a lovely lady who lead me in this direction and I am glad she did. I am a very curious person and someone who really likes to ask questions, learn, share about pretty much anything related to all sorts of health and humanity…our WORLD. Bits and pieces of everything help make up who we all are and I feel that is important to acknowledge and consider in all aspects of life. This is also why I like to do my best to read as much research, books, listen to whomever I can, watch webinars etc on everything! It can be a challenge sometimes to find legit conferences that peak my interest, workshops and the like so I really appreciated this. What I appreciated even more was the genuine passion of everyone in attendance. While I did have to leave before getting to hear the last two speakers, I was fortunate enough to hear John Ratey, MD (Is Exercise Snake Oil for the Brain) and Matthew Pontifex PhD (Physical Activity Induced Modulations in Cognitive Control), as well as taking part in a really fun break out session. I believe NeuroDevNet is putting out a white paper so specifics and further information you can find there, but I will give you the gist of some aspects of the talk in the third paragraph.
I was surrounded by scientists and researchers for the most part (intimidating much:D) , but I actually didn’t feel totally misplaced. It has taken me some time to be ok with the fact that just because I don’t have a PhD after my name, I absolutely do have value. We all do and don’t ever let anyone lead you to feel or believe otherwise mmmmkay. In fact, I found and keep finding, that because I have not previously chosen to specialize per se, my broad range of skills set me up well if I do choose to really specialize and/or allows me to be an asset to a good team of like-minded people 🙂 Having a variety of learning modalities, experiences and curiosities in so many places helps me to recognize things that many others may miss due to their specifically centered domains. I used to view my jack of all trades as a negative, as I am sure many do who don’t understand the value this actually can have, but boy has that changed. I will say this though, not being able to narrow in on one niche you devoted the majority of your time to in business has been a bit of a thing that I do not recommend. So many lessons learned!
Back to it…Asking questions is important to finding solutions and recognizing what those questions are allows for progress and necessary referrals to the right people, places, and things. Aside from that, the fact that I am not forced into one very specific domain, has helped open me to things others may have to miss or not be aware of yet to delve further in to. That is actually what made me feel ok around that table and not one of them made me feel otherwise. True professionals who really do care about the end goal :). While I may not be where they were in terms of certain things, the fact that I am always willing and excited to learn, allowed for questions and research-backed input, to offer in terms of how to help that end goal…helping people, making progress.
John’s talk was full of energy. This, I will bet, is due to the fact that he understands, values, and practices the superpowers of exercise 😉 So to tell you the outcome of his proposed talk, exercise most certainly is not snake oil. It actually baffles me that it is still such a challenge to get people of all kinds from regular everyday’s to CEO’S, to shareholders to see that exercise is not just a nice idea, it is a must to our every day existence, and more importantly, LIVING! Exercise, physical activity, training and sport/games are not only able to prevent a massive array of diseases, but it is a FACT that it can help treat so many of them too. From a variety of metabolic and diseases like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, to mental health and cognitive related illnesses, to neurological diseases, exercise can help make a difference as part of the overall equation. Matthew Pontifex lead a talk sharing a variety of research that his team have been doing, as well as some of others, which again simply showed the value and support for exercise in terms of prevention and treatment.
It honestly hurts my heart that so many people do not love themselves enough to take their health even a little bit seriously and it is even more painful that our society creates the perfect environment that is not conducive to overall health (not just exercise related). Please do not take that initial comment as an entire viewpoint on things because health in general and factors involving it are not that simplistic. Self-love is a big part of it though but even that is quite complex. How can even major corporations not understand that if their teams are holistically fit, in all aspects of that meaning, that their bottom lines will actually be better?!? If you don’t want to believe me whomever you are reading this, please listen to yet another researcher, a doctor, who is telling you that moving is magical.
While the majority of the information has been primarily focused on more cardio components of exercise as beneficial, there is a lot of research over the years finally supporting the benefits of high intensity and resistance training and THAT needs to come out to the masses more. I promise you, that type of training will get you where you want to be faster and will last longer, but do not discount any forms of exercise and movement as beneficial to some degree of course 😉
It doesn’t matter how young or how old you are, physical activity, exercise,training, sports and play will transform you forever IF you, me, we let it!