We all know the saying “A healthy mind in a healthy body.” This simple but very meaningful quote has a lot of wisdom in it. As we talked about in the previous article, your brain’s health is depending on your nutrition; and so do the body and mind. But how does this connection works?
Surfers just like other athletes know that 80% of their performance comes from their mindset. The other 20% relies on their technical and physical skills. If you are mentally prepared and physically ready, you will be performing at your optimal level.
In fact, there are three important interconnected elements that are responsible for the results you get:
. Your Internal State (IS): This is your moods and emotions.
. The External Behavior (EB): this is your physiology and body posture for example.
. Your Internal Computation (IC): This is your thinking, like opinions and beliefs and thoughts.
Changing any of these components will be affecting the results you get. For example: If you start thinking (IC) differently you also begin to feel (IS) differently and act differently (EB). It works the other way around too: training your body (EB) will fuel your mind, and regulating your mindset(IC) will enable you to have the motivation (IS) to stay in good shape.
THE BIOCHEMISTRY OF MOVEMENTS AND MENTAL HEALTH
Science is finding more and more proof that exercise is a key factor in optimizing mental performance. Exercising regularly will increase the size of your hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in memory and learning. Research saw improvement in the function of the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex of people who work out frequently.
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals that interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain and stress. These chemicals trigger a positive feeling to improve your self-esteem. For example, the feeling that follows a surf session is often described as “euphoric.” That known sensation for surfers is usually accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.
Staying fit will make you smarter, sharper, and more confident when you surf. So let’s have a look at the biomechanics of it.
OPTIMIZING MENTAL HEALTH THROUGH EXERCISE
For optimal results, divide your exercising routines into three distinct parts: activation exercises, strength training, and metabolic conditioning.
1. Activation exercises
Activation drills are all about giving you more energy for your workout buck. They enhance the communication between your neurology and your muscles, which is why it’s also called neuromuscular activation (or pre-activation).
It techniques involve turning ON a targeted muscle with isolation. It’s an active warm-up for your muscles. You can also combine activation drills with Myofascial release using trigger point balls; firm textured foam roller and stretching.
Releasing tension points with trigger balls will not only decompress your muscles and prepare them for strength focused exercise but also relieve it from old carried pain and blockages. There is a strong connection between mental and physical blockages. Physical blockages = mental barriers.
The good thing about activation exercises is that they don’t take much time. You can easily fit them into your warm up. They’re also simple to do, and most don’t require any equipment.
Here are a few pointers:
. You only need to spend a few minutes doing them.
. Per exercise: 1 or 2 sets of 10 – 15 reps.
. Use a slow tempo; squeeze at the top.
2. Strength training
Once your body is prepared, you can start making it stronger.
I like to simplify the type of exercises that I do into two distinct categories: pulling exercises and pushing exercises. If you pay attention to your overall daily movements, you will find yourself either pushing or pulling. This could be your starting point for how to divide your strength routines. For example, you can separate push up and squat days from chin ups and curl days.
Do sets of workouts that train your body for daily activities. Functional exercises are excellent to improve your balance and alignments which will build the fundamentals that you need for surfing.
3. metabolic conditioning
From the name itself, metabolic conditioning aim at improving your endurance and strength. Metabolic conditioning is good for getting leaner, and building muscle at the same time. With this type of workout, you can reach a higher level of performance faster.
As a surfer, I found the combination of these three type of exercises very effective. Not only it made me physically tougher, but it also gave me the confidence, the physical condition and the mental strength to surf bigger waves.
- Your body and mind are interconnected and are equally influencing each other’s state.
- Wellbeing chemicals are released when you move regularly.
- Combine activation exercises with strength and metabolic conditioning workout for optimal results