A link between physical and mental fitness…

So, I’ve been out of the hospital and dealing with this diabetes thing for about two months now. About a month ago my doctor advised me that since I was done with certain other meds that were causing complications it was probably time to experiment with stepping down the insulin. This was both good, I had a goal to step down and, if possible too get off the insulin. It’s something I want to do, but it’s also scary… this is something that I’m depending on for my health and now the doctor is saying get rid of it if you can.  In the past for weeks I’ve cut the dosage of long acting insulin in half and cut out the short acting (bolus) insulin altogether (except for one day where someone really, really torqued me off and I had a major stress reaction…). Tonight I’m dropping another three units and if things go well I can see the day that I’m just on oral meds in the near future… Unfortunately the easy part of cutting down the insulin is also over… I’m at the point that I actually have to work. Specifically I have to work on losing weight and doing more exercise. Now, what does this all have to do with writing and all the other stuff I put in the tags section? Well, funny thing… When you’re increasing blood flow and operating efficiency in your body, you’re also improving conditions for your brain… Actual physical improvement of mental fitness. The overly high blood sugar (and often blood pressure…) associated with diabetes are actually toxic to your body in addition to physical (mechanical) damage they can cause. By getting more exercise you not only help your body lose weight, which cuts down on the insulin resistance associated with type two diabetes, but actually can help the cells pull in the sugar and clear it out of the system. Controlling your diet can help with the same things. In practice the exercise component doesn’t even have to be that strenuous. I’ve found that spending a half hour walking around (like a trip to Lowes or a good sporting goods store…) can drop my blood sugar by twenty points give or take. I moved my food storage around yesterday and had the same effect (not a doomsday preper, but it is nice to be able to eat when there’s a snow storm on…). It doesn’t have to be that hard, you just have to do enough and do it regularly… Improving sugar (energy) intake and reducing the damaging effects of sugar are far from the only (or even the most important) effects of diet and exercise.

Effects that even non diabetics can enjoy!

One of today’s projects was working on fixing up a cheap used bike I picked up. In spite of a few inventive four letter words, I do count this as a benefit of working on the exercise thing, and one that a lot of people can enjoy. Working on the bike provides me something I can do that provides me with a goal I can accomplish that is also a break from actively (directly) working on writing). It can lead to a sense of accomplishment which (as I’ve said before) can help to speed you into accomplishing other, harder seeming, goals. Working on a different project (that’s a clean break from my regular work) also lets my subconscious mind solve problems without my conscious mind getting in the way. This is the same thing that happens when people get good ideas in the shower…). Working on a different project also creates an opportunity to find thoughts that you might not have had otherwise; like this next one…

Back to the physiological stuff…

Today while working on the bike I realized that exercise can increase blood flow to the brain. That means that doing physical exercise can actually improve my writing and researching by giving my brain more air and fuel to work with!

Exercising causes physical stress. This is actually a benefit… it is different physical stress from what is usually happening in the work I do. Essentially causing one kind of stress gives the body a chance to relieve other kinds of physical and mental stress. And, after you exercise you can relieve the exercise stress… Stress relief is well known to be a physical and mental good thing. Relieving stress  (or managing your stress) can help you be healthier, and think better. Yes, my work and my major interests are about words, ideas, and the human mind. Yes, those are all things that can be explored without a daily five mile run (for which I am grateful!!!), but the reality I’m learning is that taking a little time out to do some physical exercise, and change my perspective, actually helps me to write and research better. It doesn’t have to be about who can do the most pushups and you don’t have to be an expert in (insert sport here); if you get out and do something that gets the blood flowing and the energy burning for your body you are also helping your brain.

Getting out to do some physical exercise can have very real physical and mental benefits that actually do make a difference. So, go ahead: Learn, create, discover and write good stuff! And take care of your body too. It really will help.

That’s it for today dear reader. Until next time… where did I put that !@@$@#$@$@!!! pedal wrench?

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