I needed a way to reset and combat the stress I could already feel coming on. So, it was time for physical activity part two. And after a game of jog-and-throw-a-softball-back-and-forth-one-hundred-times-without-dropping-it (look, I said I was becoming an amateur athlete; I didn’t say I was good at or familiar with actual sports), I was able to get back to work and pump out some new and creative content. (I’m especially pleased with a category called “Historic Headlines, Middle Ages” with newspaper-headline style clues to questions about the founding of the Carolingian Empire. It’s my kind of niche content).
Tip: Get your pulse up and your blood flowing, and your creative juices will start flowing, too.
There’s science behind this, too.
Constant physical activity didn’t only shape the human body; it also shaped the human mind. Just like our muscular systems adapted to walking and running upright, our brains adapted to do the kind of multitasking necessary for hunting and gathering. And, just like our muscles atrophy if we don’t use them, our brains do, too. Because our brains are connected to the rest of our bodies, exercising our bodies can jump start our brains.
Task: Fight the urge to run (from stress management techniques).
Of course, there can be too much of a good thing. A little morning exercise can jumpstart your day, but a nine-mile walk before breakfast is maybe a little excessive.
You see, there’s another reason I’ve been gravitating toward exercise (and yes, it involves even more science). My mind and body are responding to the chronic stress of existing in a pandemic.
Back when our ancestors were chasing those aurochs and running from those sabre-toothed tigers, the world was a dangerous place. Whenever they came across some of that danger, early humans only had 2 options if they wanted to survive: fight, or flee. Either way, they were going to need a lot of energy and hyperfocus, and they were going to need it fast, so their brains flooded their bodies with stress hormones to get everything going.