Health benefits with exercise
For many years people have thought that to improve our minds we need to solve puzzles, problems or other analytical tasks. Though this the most straight forward and common used method to improve our mind, it does exist more ways to achieve a more potent mind. It is important to know each methods strengths and weaknesses and employee them according to your need.
Everybody know that physical exercise is related to a healthy lifestyle and something that doctors order from time to time. Even though it is more often seen as demanding and tedious then a happy time which give you a well-deserved time to reflect and contemplate. In mankind’s beginning there was no need for training sessions as we did get all the physical exercise our body needed and more due to our lifestyle and lack of technical innovations to ease our living conditions.
We live in a present which demand so much of everyone all the time, the room for margin and error have shrunk to all time low! Iterations shall be done in days for something that took weeks or even months before and at the same time it would be great if we could cut the work force down as well to increase profits! This does increase the stress and impression a person, to handle this you need to manage all this in some way. One way to handle stress is to give yourself time to reflect and contemplate. Reflection will not only decrease your stress level it does also give tour mind time to learn and store all new knowledge and experience it have received today. This will also make you a better family man/woman as you now can be a more active person while socializing with friends and family. It is important that you equip yourself with tools and experience that lets you handle todays extreme living requirements!
One great way to both give you time to reflect is by do some physical exercise especially low intensity cardio sessions. Believe it or not but go out for a run in the lovely forest and nature around you will not only be good physically but also mentally and give you time to reflect. As the doctor and writer Anders Hansen genial explains it in his book “Hjärnstark: Hur motion och träning stärker din hjärna” our brain does grow and become more potent during physical exercises and cardio sessions in particular. There is a lot of articles and papers that investigate how the brain reacts to physical stimuli. For instance, accordance to findings a great way to decrease stress and increase resilience towards stress is regular low intensity cardio. In the book he also elaborates how important cardio sessions is for memory improvement and prevent that the brain deteriorate with age. This is for me (one which have study control theory) intuitive to understand as one of the hardest things you can make a mechatronics system do is to move as optimal as possible or according to some set of parameters. Professors and students have spent decades in search of the optimal control theory algorithm. The closest we have today to an optimal control algorithm is the MPC algorithm, once it is used it does use a lot of computational power for satisfactory performance. If you then relate that back to us humans that is what we do every day. As soon as we move our limbs, we activate our internal control theory algorithm, how shall we move upper arm and forearm to get our hand to grab the cup of coffee we want. The same problem occurs while doing cardio, running, biking or swimming is of course highly related to how fit you are and many tend to forget that you will also improve your running stride or a swim stroke to be more efficient!
In my mind it is crystal clear that we need to activate our body physical not only for be a great athlete but also to be improve yourself as an engineer. This doesn’t seem as clear for everyone as it is for me. Of course, our athletes put effort into this to improve how the training is done and they get faster by the minute and new world records is performed in every big competition. Just two weeks ago in Vienna during the Ineos project, Eliud Kipchoge was the first person every to ran a marathon below two hours. It is a stunning feat to run in 21kmph for a full two hours!! That is something most people can’t even run when they sprint for a few seconds. Later the same day, on the other side of the world Jan Frodeno achieved a new world record at the Ironman World Championship, he completed 3.7km swim, 180km bike and a 42 km run in Kona Hawaii in just 7 hours and 51 minutes! This is all great and it shows that human body is still not at its limit.
If you look at the world’s population, we have “never” been in worse shape. We live in our greatest time yet, we see innovations every day that will help us live a better and more luxurious life. At the same time, we don’t substitute our lack of physical movement our new lifestyle gives us with physical activity. Looking at running for instance, there are studies which look into marathon finishing times and how they have changed over time. In this study they have look at finishing time on 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon and across all distances they can see that the average finishing time have increased. It is not only the average time of all attendees which have increase but among the fastest runners as well. So, you can’t argue that there is a higher number of recreational competitors which raise the total average.
Humans is by nature lazy being that is why we can see so high innovations rate especially related to ease our way of living. As Bill Gates once said “I always choose a lazy person to do a hard job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it” whether you want to believe it or not I there is always some truth to a story how absurd it might seem.
It is a fact that there is a connection between physical exercise and health in general. At the beginning of humanity, there was no need for training as we got all the physical exercise, we needed, from just trying to survive. In today’s fast-paced life, there is often not much margin for errors. Tasks that took weeks earlier should be carried out in just a couple of days.
One way to handle stress is to give yourself time to reflect. It will not only decrease your stress level but also give the mind time to learn and process new impressions. This will hopefully make you a better and balanced person and colleague, as you now can be more active with friends and family.
One great way to give you time to reflect is training, especially low-intensity cardio sessions. Believe it or not, but if you go for a run in the forest, you will not only be in better physical shape but also improve mentally. As the doctor and author Anders Hansen explains in his book “Hjärnstark: Hur motion och träning stärker din hjärna” our brain does grow and become more potent during physical exercises and cardio sessions in particular. Several research papers investigate how the human brain reacts to physical stimuli. For instance, a great way to decrease stress and increase resistance towards stress is regular low-intensity cardio training. In the book, he also elaborates on the importance of cardio sessions for memory improvement and how it prevents the brain from deteriorating with age.
For control systems engineers, it is intuitive to understand complex systems in different domains. While research has spent decades searching for the optimal control theory algorithm, the closest we have today to an optimal control algorithm is Model Predictive Control. The approach requires huge computational power for satisfactory performance and demands perfect models of the environment. One can see similarities to the human mind. As soon as we move our limbs, we activate our internal control theory algorithms. For example, when we grab a cup of coffee, we need to control our arm and hand in a synchronised fashion. A similar problem occurs during physical exercises such as running, biking or swimming where we control several body parts simultaneously.
Athletes put much effort into improving their speed and technique to set new records. Just two weeks ago, during the Ineos project in Vienna, Eliud Kipchoge was the first person ever to run a marathon under two hours. Later the same day, on the other side of the planet, Jan Frodeno set a new world record at the Ironman World Championship. He completed the 3.7km swimming, 180km biking and 42 km running in Kona, Hawaii in just 7 hours and 51 minutes! These impressive results show that the human body is still not at its limit and what can be achieved with optimisation of mind and body.
One does not need to run marathons and Ironmans, especially in such fast times, but it is obvious for us that we need to activate our body, not only to be good athletes but also to improve ourselves as engineers. That is one of the reasons why Combine prioritizes company activities such as running, obstacle course racing, or skiing.