Understanding the Neuroscience of Energy for Better Health
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I remember watching the high powered politicos do their cardio workouts when I was a young personal fitness trainer working at one of the most exclusive fitness clubs in Washington, D.C. One in particular, let’s just refer to him as “The Undersecretary,” would immediately set no fewer than four blackberries on the console of his treadmill as he began his daily walk. His workout was interrupted constantly by alerts and phone calls. It struck me as an exercise in absurdity.
“Where attention goes…energy flows.”
In case the topic of energy feels a little too ‘woo-woo’ for you, please allow me to re-write that previous sentence in the language of neuroscience:
“Where attention goes, neuro firing flows and neural connection grows.”-Dr. Dan Seagal, PhD, UCLA School of Medicine
In lay terms, where we focus our attention literally influences the makeup of our body. Wow, is that exciting or what?!
The topic of energy has had my attention for some time now, and in the last 5 months I’ve taken fascinating virtual courses from a few of the leading researchers in Cellular Biology and Interpersonal Biology. These learnings have captivated me so much that I wanted to share a few important concepts with you–and how they relate to your health and fitness practice.
Whether we’re measuring the ability of a human cell to take in nutrients such as a water or a protein molecule, looking at the adaptation of an organ such as the brain and the nervous system in response to a trauma inflicted by the environment, or even measuring an individual’s ability to receive the emotion of love (yes it’s true, human emotion impacts us at the level of the cell! Source: Bruce Lipton, PhD), here’s what we now know: Energy is the stuff of the Universe.
Why Understanding Energy Matters
How you direct attention determines neural firing, the development of myelin sheaths (the sleevelike material around a nerve cell), epigenetics (how the environment influences our DNA), and synaptic connections (the system of connections between nerve cells).
In other words: if you want to reap the maximum physiological benefit of your movement and mindfulness practices, you must pay attention while performing them!
How do we pay attention in this world of distraction?
To create energetic momentum, start with what’s easiest.-Kien Vuu MD, The Performance and Longetivity Doc
Four Powerful Steps to Focusing Your Energy
May I suggest a few simple ways to pay attention during your exercise and meditation practices:
- Tune in to the joy of being in the present moment. Use your senses and your internal sensations to experience the sights, sounds, smells, touch, and perhaps even the taste of what’s around you. Notice how the combination of movement or meditation and this awareness clears your head of stressors.
- If using a fitness or meditation app to guide your practice, try using system ‘tools’ to turn off notifications while in use.
- Get outside, often and much, with your phone on ‘airplane’ mode.
- Ask yourself what would feel good next–and do it. Most of the time, you’ll be right.
Wrapping Things Up
Imagine the high-powered politico with four Blackberries on his treadmill – a real exercise in absurdity, right? Well, turns out, there’s a profound lesson here: “Where attention goes…energy flows.” It’s not just a ‘woo-woo’ energy thing; it’s legit neuroscience! Dr. Dan Seagal says, “Where attention goes, neuro firing flows and neuro connection grows.” Your focus literally shapes your body!
Now, let’s dive into the cool stuff about energy. The blog highlights insights from leading researchers in Cellular and Interpersonal Biology. Energy is the universe’s secret sauce! Paying attention isn’t just about not tripping on the treadmill; it influences your cells, DNA, and brain connections.
So, why does understanding energy matter? It’s the key to getting the most out of your workouts and mindfulness practices. Want those myelin sheaths and synaptic connections to be top-notch? Pay attention, my friend!
But hey, in a world full of distractions, how do you focus? Fear not! The blog dishes out playful tips: dive into the joy of the present moment, use your senses, turn off app notifications (they can wait!), go outside on ‘airplane’ mode, and hey, ask yourself what feels good – chances are, you’ll nail it.
In a nutshell, this blog is like a high-five for your attention and energy. So, let’s get moving, stay mindful, and embrace the awesome connection between where our attention goes and where our energy flows!
About Melanie Webb and WebbWell
Named “The person to call” by DEPARTURES Magazine, “a leader in the adventure travel industry” by Norie Quintos of National Geographic Traveler, and “one of the top trainers in the industry” by The Sports Club/LA (now Equinox), Melanie Webb is the founder and creator of WebbWell and the WebbWell App. A sought-after industry and corporate retreat facilitator and speaker, her fitness course Mother Nature’s Gym Outdoor Fitness Guide is approved for 1.6 CEC’s from American Council on Exercise.