Day 7: #Nando25 Day Challenge: Exercise + Your Brain Chemistry

The #Nando25 Challenge Idea: Your brain + body needs exercise. When you exercise, you increase blood flow to the brain which increases prefrontal cortex activity (the area that manages rational decisions). When you exercise, you also create new brain cells–but they only live a maximum of 4 weeks, unless you stimulate them with new learning, like a new language, or a new hobby–of doing the #Nando25 Day Challenge! You can also stimulate these brain cells by social interaction. But if after 4 weeks of creating the new brain cell, and there’s no stimulation happening, they die off. Imagine that, all those clubs + bars you’ve been going to and socializing are actually helping your brain function–but only if you exercise beforehand. The breakdown: when you elevate aerobic activity (the heart rate goes up for extended periods of time–you have to break a sweat), you actually boost a chemical in your brain that’s a major stake holder in neurogenesis. This brain-derived neurotrphic factor (BDNF) is like Miracle grow for the brain, when you exercise, your brain sprouts new cells. And on the flip side, when your brain doesn’t create as many new new cells as it loses, aging occurs. (That’s why you look like you do–which ever side of the coin you’re on)

The Lesson: Exercise enhances your mood! When you get your heart pumping, (you gotta break a sweat) you allow a mood enhancing amino acid (L-tryptophan) to enter the brain. This amino acid is the precursor to serotonin, which balances moods. If there was ever a brain chemical to love, it’s serotonin. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter associated with happiness, anti-worrying + being calm. Take a moment to re-read that–because it deserves to be understood. And trust me, by the end of your 25-day journey with me, you will be saying the word “serotonin” on a daily basis!

Your brain has daily wars it fights because of outside stimuli like being in a bad relationship, hating your job, and being overweight–these are all contributing factors that YOU have it battle. Depending on your mood (the deep limbic system–that’s coming up) your brain produces chemicals that match up accordingly to your mood. So if you’re stuck on negative, your brain won’t allow the amino acid, L-tryptophan, to enter the brain so easily, because it’s too busy creating other chemicals to match your negative mood. I want you to read that again.

If you’re stuck on negative, your brain won’t allow the amino acid, L-tryptophan, to enter the brain so easily, because it’s too busy creating other chemicals to match your negative mood.

And what exactly is a negative mood? It’s whatever keeps you from being happy. The mind is very preceptive–even if you’re trying to trick it with a SCAM. Some of you have already written me asking if running a scam ever okay? A SCAM is neither right or wrong, but it will keep you getting the same results. Others have already shown disinterest in the challenge–which is why I asked for your commitment up front when you registered–see, it’s these small things that keep you SCAMMING or that triggered something in you to say, “This challenge sucks” that should make you wan to complete the challenge. Why? It’s giving you a new way of being. What I’m offering here is not informative learning–I write it, you read it and then live goes on. No, what I’m offering here is transformative learning, which is very different. Transformative learning is a type of learning that causes a SHIFT in your belief system. For the person guy in San Francisco who wrote me and asked, “If I know I’m running a SCAM on my family, is it okay? I know what the Pay-off is and I can deal with it.” That tells me that he understands the concept and his SCAM doesn’t have too much longer to live because you can only SCAM your mind so far. That is transformative learning because he knows what’s on the 2 sides of the SCAM. And whatever feelings associated with this SCAM–he’s signaling his brain to create, such a catch-22 right!

Bottom line, you actually control what chemicals your brain makes, depending on your mood. But with exercise, your muscles actually need bigger amino acids, which then allows the L-tryptophan to get through which them churns out BUCKETS of serotonin. And what happens with you have increased serotonin production, your self-esteem shoots up.

The 4 neurotransmitters exercise produces:
1. Dopamine: The pleasure, motivation + drive chemical. (Gym during your lunch break and notice better/higher motivation the rest of your day at work)
2. Serotonin: The happy, anti-worrying, brain-flexibility chemical. (I think Bobby McFerrin was way beyond his time when he sang, Don’t worry be Happy!)
3. Endorphins: The brain’s own natural pain killing chemical. (Forget Tylenol + Advil, reach for an elliptical instead)
4. Norepinephrine: Alert + focused (Gives you the adrenaline rush + helps in sexual arousal and orgasms)

Don’t go to the gym to lose weight, that’s what sleep is for, go to the gym to produce these 4 neurotransmitters instead and start living life!

The Homework:
1. Identify + write in your #Nando25 Challenge Journal 2 ways of how you’ll start to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. (joining a gym, taking the stairs at work, walking around the block during lunch). But I have to warn you–if you’re not pumping that heart to give you a break out in sweat moment–you’re not creating your chemicals. But make sure you check with your doctor on your new routine if you haven’t been moving around.
2. Tomorrow: take the above and put it into ACTION.
3. Update your Facebook status with this quote and TAG ME, “Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” Edward Stanley, for Prime Minister of the UK.

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