The unbelievable perks of exercising as a creative – 5 takeaways you can´t ignore

The unbelievable perks of exercising as a creative – 5 takeaways you can´t ignore

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Exercising as a creative! We all know that being outdoors, going to the gym or a jog is god for us. This is something our parents, teachers and pretty much everyone is saying. But, everyone keeps saying it’s good for you, but has anyone actually said how it affect your brain and your body – in detail ? Exercise is THE most important thing you can do for your creativity. Here are the unbelievable perks of exercising as a creative and 5 takeaways you can´t ignore.

How can exercise be the most important thing for my creativity, you may ask? Well, first of all, exercise makes the blood flow to your brain, which brings lots of great things to happen.

  • It creates new braincells 
  • Makes you more resistant to stress
  • Makes your brains more susceptible to plasticity (changeable)
  • Creates more connections between the braincells in frontal lobe and the rest of the brain.
  • It makes you focus more easily and lets you shut the noise out

Let’s dig into what each of these points means for you as a creative!

New braincells incoming!

It wasn’t that long ago we thought our brain was this solid lump of unchangeable tissue. But the brain is in constant change. When we think certain thought and creates habits for example, we form new pathways in our brain. The braincells form connections to be more precise. What ALSO happens is that the brain produces new braincells AND it prevents ageing to a degree of it being younger than before. So regular exercise where you get your pulse up for at least 40 minuets a couple of times a week WILL MAKE YOUR BRAIN BIGGER AND YOUNGER! Read that sentence a couple of times.

The creatives takeaway:
This is a bit unnecessary when you read that your brain gets bigger and younger. But, countless studies have shown that our creativity gets a boost after we exercised. Many of our biggest geniuses’ witnesses that they use exercise to keep being creative. So, before starting your workday, go for a running and get your pulse up for at least 40 minutes and exercising as a creative so you can benefit from the boost you brain gets for the next couple of hours. 

Be cool a sa cucumber under stress with exercise!

Cool as a cucumber

Stress is something we all have to handle in our life. Its more or less not a choice but a necessary evil we need to deal with. Stress (all the different hormones that’s are being released under stress) is actually causing your frontal lobe and the hippocampus to shrink! If you feel that you are under a lot of stress or don’t handle stress very good – exercise is your relief. When we exercise we use our muscles, and our muscles helps to neutralize the stress hormones. The more you exercise the better you and your body will be at dealing with stress, especially in the long term. Another great perk is that when you are lowering your stress level you will lose weight, because the cortisol substance that is associated with stress is preventing your body to burn fat.

The creatives takeaway:
As a creative, freelancer and small business owner, stress is as natural for us as the Adobe Suit. We feel the pressure of getting enough work so we can pay the rent, keeping our hard-earned clients happy and to find new clients. By being better at handling stress we can also run our business better, take better decisions and be better at our craft. The extra perk of losing weight will add to that as we get better self confidence that also will boost the above.

Be willing to change

As I wrote above, our brain isn’t a solid lump of unchangeable tissue. The brain is in constant change. Every time we make a new habit, such as learning something new we create a new “path” in our brain. This path makes it easier for us to do things, like tie your shoes. Even thinking certain though work this way. You can train your brain to think positive thoughts by just keep thinking them, and over time the path makes it easier for you to think these thoughts. Exercise makes our brain more plasticity (changeable), while stress is causing the brain to be the opposite. So start exercising as a creative and be flexible with your mind!

The creatives takeaway:
Do you have a hard time learning something new, like a new workflow in Photoshop, a certain effect in After Effects or maybe accounting? Then exercise will help you due to it makes the brain more open for change and it boost your mental capacity. That is why something that becomes a routine gets easier the more we do it, the brain creates the path and makes it easier to think and do. 

Get your brain to do networking

A possible explanation to why exercise is so good for us, is that when we get more blood to our brain, we create more braincells that adds to all the connections between the different parts of the brain. This makes our mental capacity stronger. The more braincells we get, the more connections get made and more “computer processor power” we get.

The creatives takeaway:
By boosting our mental capacity, comparing to upgrading the processor in our computer, our brain will work more fluid. We will take better and smarter decisions for our company, we won’t be as tired when doing tasks that takes lots of concentration and willpower to complete and we will be better at problem solving.

Dopamine is your build-in noise cancellation

Build-in noise cancellation 

You have probably heard about dopamine before. The substance that causes us to feel joy and happiness. But what dopamine also does is that it causes us to get motivated and attentive. Dopamine is what causes us to be able to sort out the noise in the background and focus on your task, when you are sitting at a Starbucks and typing away. For example, medicine for ADHD is raising the dopamine levels in your body. People who has a hard time to focus and very easily gets distracted needs higher doses of dopamine to be able to focus. Why exercise is such a good medicine against ADHD is that when we exercise our dopamine levels in our body rises.

The creatives takeaway:
Are you sitting in a café writing on your next article, or renting a desk in an open office space or taking a class at university with lots of other people attending? Then there can be a lot of noise around you that steals your focus. You have a deadline or a client who needs something done yesterday and you need to deliver! Then going for a run for at least 40 minutes before you start your task will help you focus better and make your client happy. The dopamine levels will rise and help you zone out and focus on your task.

The same thing goes for you who has a hard time to focus and gets distracted in general (as we creatives often do) or you are diagnosed with ADHD. Exercise will help you get higher levels of dopamine and this will lower the noise around you and help you focus on your task! So, exercising as a creative makes you focus on being a creative!

The inspiration and hard facts in this blogpost is coming from the book “Hjärnstark” (Swedish) by Anders Hansen. If you think this sounds interesting I can’t encourage you enough to buy it and read it. It will be the best investment you’ve done! Interested in what other books I’m reading? See my list of summer reads here!

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