Push ups are one of the most effective freehand exercises to tone and develop your entire griddle region - the chest, shoulders, back, neck, arms and abs are all positively affected. There is also an indirect benefit to everything below the waist as well: quads, calves, ankles, knees - even your feet! The push up is one very efficient vehicle to overall bodily health advancement. No doubt about it.
That's not why I do them though. I do push ups for my brain -- 100 every day.
2 sets of 50 push ups daily only takes me about a total of 6 minutes. That's doing them nice and slow - taking care to ensure proper form. You have to take your time. Don't rush them or you'll miss out on the brain pump.
As I lower my body to brush my chin to the ground, floor or whatever surface I am on, I breathe in deeply. The oxygen from the inhalation courses through my veins. It attaches to the blood that passes through my lungs and travels along the capillary passages to every part of me. The nutrients and O2 power up my immune defenses, force goodness into my muscles, chase away foul buildups of toxic waste - and excite my brain.
I stop at the surface - just for a second - to separate the contraction and expansion elements of the movement. Suspended briefly in isometric bliss, my mind knows what's coming next: Blast off! In an explosive burst, I propel my body's weight upward with an audible exhalation. I imagine that the air that is forced through my nose sends me skyward. With the out-casted air comes along all of the day's worries, stressors and negativity. I sail upward to the peak of the motion - slowly becoming aware that each moment in time is mine to command, and to optimize.
Again, at peak position, I pause for just one second. I allow my mind to assimilate what just happened - and what is about to happen again. I descend again to the chin-resting spot, again breathing in deeply. Lungs filled and arms locked, I remain planted for yet another second as my mind slips further into the intended realm. I am calming, relaxing. My brain is getting flooded with all that it begs me for. In this 3-minute set of 50, I transport my thoughts and re-center my intellect. I am liberated physically and emotionally.
I finish the set the same as I begin it, every time: with perfect, slow intent. And then I go back to my day, refreshed, gathered and unshakable.
My mind torments me every day. Little voices tell me to just skip the sets. Nobody will know. I have nothing to prove. There is nobody that would even care if they did know or see. But I would know. I would know that I allowed the weak part of my mind to thwart the development of the strong part. If my lazy side had its way, my entire body, including my brain, would fall, perish - and rot away to nothing. Unless I do battle fervently each day with my weak side, I am sure to fail at any goal that I ever claim to set.
And so I do not falter. Each day, I take the necessary 6 minutes to complete this small part of my exercise regimen. Sometimes I forget the finishing set until I lie down to sleep - but then I remember. And so, real quickly, before the weakness defeats me, I roll onto the floor beside my bed and do my second set for the day. In times like these, I do an extra 10 or so just to remind myself that I will not tolerate my lacking performance. Tomorrow I will remember before bedtime.
I do push ups for my brain.
M Alan Roberts is a radical thinker. He has a gimlet eye for injustice, much as did Frederich Engels, a century and a half before. Still, Roberts finds a way to write effective SEO copy. This suggests both sides of his brain, his mind, work equally well.
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