Healthy body, healthy mind!

by Jess Whittaker

How 75 Nepali girls reminded me about the importance of movement and its effect on a person's mental clarity and happiness…

I am one of those people that loved exercise from the moment I could move. I was in every extra curricular sports activity and never let lack of time, tiredness or being uncoordinated kill my enthusiasm.

It shocks me when I meet people that don’t exercise, even some that don’t enjoy simply walking from A to B. The physical benefits of exercise are well known but what I have come to realize as I get older is that exercise is just as important to your mind as it is for your body.

What if 30 mins of running would add 30 additional marks to your next exam or make $30,000 towards your sales target – would you be up for a sweat then?

I agree with Leo Widrich in his article ( about the brain and happiness – we have heard endless reports that exercise makes us happier, less anxious and less stressed, but have you ever stopped to understand why?

If you start exercising, your brain recognizes this as a moment of stress. As your heart pressure increases, the brain thinks you are either fighting the enemy or fleeing from it. To protect yourself and your brain from stress, you release a protein called BDNF(Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). This BDNF has a protective and also reparative element to your memory neurons and acts as a reset switch. That’s why we often feel so at ease and things are clear after exercising and eventually happy.

I was reminded in such a gorgeous way on a volunteering trip to Nepal recently how the effect of movement transcends any boundaries of age, gender or race. I was taken to a hostel of 75 girls between the ages of 3 – 18. These girls have experienced things in their lives I could not put to paper but when we put on some music and together made a dance routine, the immense joy and happiness drowned out their incredibly sad situation…

I am convinced movement can change the world - but how about we first start here, at home?  My challenge to you is to get your brain fit! Be selfish in setting aside 30 – 60 minutes a day to move. I know I have think clearer and have my best ideas during/post exercise. And don’t stop there - encourage those around you to move more!  Whip out your phone and get a group moving just as I did with my girlfriends in Nepal.


Jess Whittaker - Digital Marketing Consultant and self-proclaimed fitness addict

Jess W - Base BloggerBy morning Jess is a passionate cross fitter, by day she assists clients across South East Asia with digital marketing, and by night she enjoys good food and wine. Jess is also passionate about helping those in need! Contact Jess on, follow on Twitter @jessdoubleya or LinkedIn

Check out my Nepali girlfriends here and if you are interested to know more about the cause please click this link >

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