Thursday, January 29, 2009

Brain-boosting in the gym.

My training sessions in the gym are twice a week at 5:30am. I am extremely pleased with the way they are going after nearly a month with Jeremy as my trainer. I am working with more weight and more cycles of each exercise than I've ever been able to do before. I have two really tough types of "step up/step down" exercises, designed to improve my balance and coordination. I have some inflammation under my right kneecap this week that may be a side effect of strength work on the muscles around the knee. I'll tape it and do the training walk on SuperBowl Sunday, unless it's worse. And I'm seeing my orthopaedic specialist on Monday to ensure I understand how much I can do during training.

I just finished reading an article on exercise and creativity from CIO magazine and here are a couple of excerpts: "Continuous or intense stress can harm brain cells, brain structure and brain function, causing such side effects as memory problems or depression, according to neuroscientists...Best-selling novelist and marathoner Haruki Murakami says running fuels his creativity. And if you've ever had that feeling of giddy invicibility after a great run or bike ride, you know exercise can make you feel sharper. In the short term this is because exercise lowers stress, boosts blood flow to your brain and releases endorphins--neurotransmitters that suppress pain and give your body the feeling of a natural high."

The gym work is cross training for the walking. That it feeds my brain and may fuel creativity as well is a side benefit. The idea that Tracy and I could walk twice a week in January even as we got booked up with lunches with folks who are leaving the company as of today was not realistic. But after Sunday's walk and getting ourselves moved to a new location next week, we should be able to walk twice a week along the waterfront. The team training walks start on Saturdays in mid-March. That should give me a great routine to carry forward as I travel the country by train in April.

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