Resistive Exercise, Heavy Work, and Attention

What is Resistive Exercise and Heavy Work?

Resistive exercise is muscle action that is opposed by enough  force to increase strength.  “Heavy Work” is the combination of resistive exercise with activities such as those that are shown in the photos below.

Combining resistive exercises into Heavy Work activities, activates key chemical actions throughout the brain and its pathways.  When these pathways are activated with sufficient force, the outcome is improved attention, coordination, and mood.

This photo shows a youngster rolling forward onto a Physioball to assemble a puzzle.

This youngster is pushing the weight of his body up against gravity.  He is  holding himself up on the Physioball in order to complete a puzzle.

This teenager is performing push- ups.  He is pushing the weight of his upper body against gravity while he balances on his feet and hands.

Resistive exercises can be performed in a variety of positions.  If the muscles are positioned  to act with enough force to increase strength and endurance, the activity will require heavy work from the body.  For example:

What key chemicals are produced during heavy work and why are they important?

Dopamine is one of the primary chemicals that is activated through use of resistive exercise and heavy work.  When the Dopamine pathways are activated with sufficient strength, they work together to produce a sense of  overall well being.  Dopamine is known to be one of the “feel-good” brain chemicals.  These pathways play a role in attention, memory, and coordination. 

Serotonin is another one of the “feel-good” brain chemicals that is activated through use of resistive exercise and heavy work.  When the Serotonin pathways are activated with sufficient strength, they work together to impact mood.  These pathways impact memory,  learning, and social behavior as well.

Norepinephrine is one more of the key brain chemicals that is activated through use of resistive exercise and heavy work. It is important for alertness and emotional control.

Taking Home The Main Idea

  1. Resistive exercise and heavy work activities should be built into home programs on a  regular basis.
  2. Incorporating these two elements into the home program can have a healthy impact on a wide range of behavior due to chemical interactions in the brain and its pathways
  3. Resistive exercise and heavy work can be used to   improve attention, coordination, mood, and emotional control

For more information on heavy work, you can read our post about home programs or this post about heavy work activities.

 

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