Mindfulness Concentration: Exercise

Hi Kira Leskew here, how can exercise affect your concentration? Stay tuned, and I’ll tell you in 5 minutes or less. Exercise has a Goldilocks Zone for optimal
concentration: too little makes it really difficult. But too much exercise can also be an obstacle for good concentration. And
too much can also contribute to poor concentration. In this video, I will cover some exercise
basics for improved focus, and some very current studies on exercise and concentration. And again, this is a really big topic so I’m just giving you the highlights. Also, this video is part of a series on improving
concentration, since it is so complex. There are many factors that can impact your ability
to concentrate well, so check out some of the other videos, you can find them in the links to the cards for this video. The first thing that moderate exercise does is improve your overall health, which definitely helps your ability to concentrate. Let’s
face it, easier to concentrate when we feel good, and when we don’t it’s a way bigger challenge to concentrate on what’s in front of us. Here are a few reasons for this: improved blood flow to our brains, helps maintain
optimal blood pressure, it improves our mood by burning off stress hormones, and improves
production of positive endorphins, which lowers stress and lowers anxiety. New studies also show that regions in your
brain are stimulated when you do exercise that involve your memory circuits, and that a chemical
called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) rewires memory circuits so that they work
better. Yes, the right kind of exercise rewires your memory circuits so that they work better.
This chemical cannot be taken or manufactured outside the human body, and according to a
Harvard Medical School Study, the brain can only make it when we do regular exercise,
and we make the most of it when we exercise in particular zones: According to the Harvard study, the right amount of exercise that you need is about
30 minutes daily. 5 times per week of moderately intense exercise. The threshold is about 70%
of maximum heart rate, which declines with age (see the chart, I will put a link in the
cards for the video). Of course, there will be variations in what your maximum heart-rate
is. I have a slower than normal heart-rate, so for me, I need to go below what the recommended 70% is for my age, but the chart is a really good place to start.
Doing moderate exercise less than 5 times per week will help your body in other ways,
but to get the BDNF benefits, (i.e. improved brain chemicals that improve concentration)
you need to do 5 times a week, at 70% of your max heart-rate, and maintain your exercise
frequency. That means, if you cut back on your exercise, your production of BDNF will
also diminish. Exercising is also a fantastic way to practice
mindfulness in action, and at least some of the time, do it without distractions, including
music for 10 minutes. If this is a challenge, you can put the music on after 10 minutes. But when you’ve got those ten minutes, think about your
breath, think about what your body feels like. I’m actually going to be doing that in my course on Improving Concentration, as it can help people to focus better, and by starting now with 10 minutes mindfully per day it’s an awesome way to start. So, start your workout, take 10 minutes without music, tune into your body, and pay attention to what’s going on. To improve concentration, first I have been talking about all the outside factors, that can distract you and what we’re going to be doing after that is work on some of the other things that will really help you build your concentration and your capacity to concentrate. To do that, I am going to be offering an online course so stay tuned for that. And please leave me any comments or questions that you have, and I’ll answer them for you. So that you can really learn to be mindful and concentrate well in your life.

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