Movements that Boost Brain Performance with Aaron Alexander
"Technology is forming us into a depressed mould."
This week’s podcast is all about the brain/body connection — and we welcome special guest
In today’s show we’ll be addressing the much-talked-about mind/body connection and exploring how optimizing our body function, posture and movements can affect our minds and improve our brain power.
An accomplished manual therapist and movement coach, today’s guest Aaron Alexander has over a decade of experience coaching clients from Olympic athletes to Hollywood actors to improve their health and streamline their daily movements.
The way we move has lasting impacts on our health and longevity. Our posture and daily movements affect our thinking, our happiness, and our general health. In today’s world many of us have learnt to separate our bodies and brains and sacrifice our physical health for the sake of convenience — think taking the elevator instead of the stairs, or jumping in the car for a trip of a couple of blocks — and this is resulting in heightened rates of physical illness and depression despite our ever-rising rates of affluence.
In today’s conversation, we talk about the best ways to sit for a healthier body, explain the brain-body connection, and discuss the effect of posture on your mental state. We’ll give you some practical tips to turn your everyday tasks into the body and brain-boosting missions and ideas for best breathing practices. We’ll leave you with some helpful thoughts on how changing the way you move can reduce health risks and some quick tips for boosting your general health!
HOW TO SIT
- Ensure you’re on the front edge of your seat
- Leverage your “indigenous movement patterning.”
- L5/S1 lower part of your back is a wedge-shape—the way we sit day to day ends up stressing our lower back, pushing it the other way
BRAIN + BODY CONNECTION
- Childhood movement and exploration builds our brain—technology use impedes that
- Our brain is our body, our brain and skin is a continuous layer
- As we engage in two-dimensional activities like reading books, textbooks — we start to build separation between mind and body
- At a deeper level, our body doesn’t know any of that jargon— it’s all one
- Posture affects you at a hormonal level, cellular level—your cells can feel you!
- Simple hack: hinge your hips while you’re on the phone, keep your spine long — avoid collapsed chest, forward head posture, slumped over
- Hunching sends a message to your body and those around you—and it perpetuates itself
- Technology is forming us into a depressed, and we’re outsourcing our movement to gizmos
CHORES + TRANSPORTATION
- Turn little chores into training missions — e.g., avoiding elevators, cars to drive a few blocks — get on your bike instead and be grateful for the opportunity
- Change your language! “Oh, I have to go to the post office,” vs. “Oh, I get to go to the post office!”
- Gratitude — a culture where you can do little chores
- Unconsciousness can be the time when the little bad habits slip back in
- Come back to breathe as an anchor point: 4 seconds out, 6 seconds in
- For normal breathing: breathe through the nose
- Nose built to breathe, mouth built to eat — breathing through nose means the air goes through passages to allow your body to release nitric oxide — the body is built to do that naturally
- Mouth breathing= less testosterone, chest breathing which can set off a panic response
- Nose breathing causes a little restriction meaning your muscles to have to come online, and your diaphragm has to engage
- How to breathe from your diaphragm: drops your hands outside of your ribs and breathe in, feel it evenly pushing out through ribs, think about the circumference
- Aaron’s floor culture: have to get all the way down and all the way back up — reduces fall risk
- We can be more immaculate in any position we’re in—whether standing, on the floor, sitting
- In Blue Zones there’s less osteoporosis, hip disease—praying on floors, daily movements
- Blue Zone general health: sun contact against eyes, community gardens community, barefoot—the sun grounds you and sets off your natural circadian rhythms
- Study about the link between high heels and schizophrenia
- Full range of motion from all of your joints = better brain health
- Expose as much of your body to the sun as possible
- Wake up with the cycles of the sun
- Consistent sleep schedule
- Guard your mornings and ensure you get some stimulation—e.g., Music, dancing, going for a jog
- Spring water
- Take it easy on yourself! You’re probably already doing great if you’re here listening to this podcast
- Be on the floor more often! Follow children— they’re gurus
- Life is movement
*** Please note, this episode is educational only and is not intended to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.
Related Kwik Brain Episodes You Might Enjoy
Episode 15: How To Create New Habits Fast with Dr. Fogg
Episode 25: Sleep Smarter, Faster, and Deeper with Shawn Stevenson
Episode 47: How Gratitude Rewires Your Brain
Episode 62: What To Eat For Your Brain with Dr. Mark Hyman