Exercise To Prevent The Loss Of Rational Control

Exercise Is A Wonder Drug For Self-control

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In The Willpower Instinct, Dr. Kelly McGonigal tells us:

Exercise turns out to be the closest thing to a wonder drug that self-control scientists have discovered. For starters, the willpower benefits of exercise are immediate. Fifteen minutes on a treadmill reduces cravings, as seen when researchers try to tempt dieters with chocolate and smokers with cigarettes. The long-term effects of exercise are even more impressive. It not only relieves ordinary, everyday stress, but it’s as powerful an antidepressant as Prozac. Working out also enhances the biology of self-control by increasing baseline heart rate variability and training the brain. When neuroscientists have peered inside the brains of new exercisers, they have seen increases in both gray matter—brain cells—and white matter, the insulation on brain cells that helps them communicate quickly and efficiently with each other. Physical exercise—like meditation—makes your brain bigger and faster, and the prefrontal cortex shows the largest training effect.

There you have it. Exercise is a “wonder drug” for self-control, as powerful an antidepressant as Prozac. It increases baseline heart rate variability, both grey and white matter in the brain, and helps bulk up the prefrontal cortex.

I did pushups, planks, and burpees every 50 minutes at work for years.