Episode 64: How Sleep Powers Executive Functions

Below you can view or listen to Episode 64 of The Personal Brain Trainer Podcast.  

How Sleep Powers Executive Functions 

In this episode of the Executive Function Brain Trainer, hosts Darius Namdaran and Dr. Erica Warren explore the crucial connection between sleep and executive functions. They review the research on how sleep deprivation and sleep quality affect the brain's prefrontal cortex, influencing working memory, inhibitory control, and cognitive flexibility. Aimed at educators, parents, and professionals, this episode offers valuable insights and practical tips to enhance mental acuity through better sleep habits. Listeners will gain actionable advice to improve cognitive health and overall well-being.




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      Erica: Welcome to the Personal Brain Trainer podcast. I'm Dr. Erica Warren.

      Darius: And I'm Darius Namdaran and we're your hosts. Join us on an adventure to translate scientific jargon and brain research into simple metaphors and explanations for everyday life. We explore executive function and learning strategies that help turbocharge the mind.

      Erica: Come learn to steer around the invisible barriers so that you can achieve your goals. This podcast is ideal for parents, educators, and learners of all ages. This podcast is brought to you by goodsensorylearning.com, where you can find educational and occupational therapy lessons and remedial materials that bring delight to learning. Finally, you can find Doctor Warren's many courses at, learningspecialistcourses.com dot. Come check out our newest course on developing executive functions and study strategies.

      Darius: This podcast is sponsored by dyslexiaproductivitycoaching.com. We give you a simple productivity system for your Apple devices that harnesses the creativity that comes with your dyslexia.

      Erica: Hey, Darry, it's great to see you today.

      Darius: Hey, Erica. Ah, nice to see you too. What's on the docket?

      Erica: Exercise and executive functioning. So we're going to really investigate how exercise can be something that can support and help our executive functioning skills.

      Darius: Okay, great. You, got some research on this?

      Erica: I do. I did some research myself and also broke this down into two distinct areas that I saw in the research, and that was. There's research. It's kind of funny they call it.

      Darius: Acute and chronic exercise, right?

      Erica: To funny.

      Darius: That's weird, isn't it? Yes, because we think about chronic disease and acute disease, but here they're using them in a more positive sense. You know, you've got acute exercise and chronic exercise, but there's no negative connotations with that, is there?

      Erica: There isn't. So really, acute exercise means a single session, and chronic exercise represents more of regular exercise. Maybe frost fit or somebody that's doing this exercise routine on a daily basis versus just every once in a while. There is research on both of those areas, and I thought it would be really fun to look and do a deep dive into some of the research findings for both acute and chronic exercise. Let's start with acute exercise. I've got two bits of research that I want to share with you. One is a meta-analysis titled the effects of acute aerobic exercise and cognitive function. A meta-analysis and basically what this found was a significant overall effect of this aerobic exercise on enhancing executive functions in the areas of improved inhibition and interference control. So this is for preadolescents, adolescents, and younger adults. I love meta-analyses because we're not just looking at one bit of research, are, we. We're looking at multiple bits of research. So a meta-analysis is looking across the research and saying, from all of these bits of research on preadolescents, adolescents and young adults, these bits of acute aerobic exercise have significant effects on inhibition.

      Darius: So in simple language, you do a short piece of exercise, you get an immediate effect on inhibition and inhibitory control.

      Erica: Yeah. So it's going to increase your ability.

      Darius: To attend in the real world, in the practical world. What is an acute exercise? What did they use as, an example of acute exercise? Are we talking about going for a 30 minutes’ walk or running or playing a game of basketball or what we talking about here?

      Erica: They're talking about aerobic exercise. I think it could be a variety of exercises, but it's something where you're getting a full aerobic, so you're getting your heart rate up.

      Darius: That's fascinating. That's so fascinating because I just interviewed a young lad in the dyslexia explorer podcast about his dyslexia at school. And he went to his teacher, and he was beginning to fail at school. He went to his teacher, and he said, sir, I don't think I can do today, you know? And the teacher said, right, okay, let's go out. And they went outside, and they just played a game of basketball for the whole lesson, him, and the boy. And he just played basketball, jumped hoops and so on. And then when he got back, he was like, I can do this, because he knew he was going to start a fight if he didn't go and speak to that teacher. He could feel the anger rising inside of him. And so that was inhibitory control after exercise. He could control himself in that scenario after the exercise.

      Erica: What's interesting about that particular case is that it was also a form of managing emotions, which is another aspect under inhibitory control, which is emotional regulation. So they don't necessarily talk about that specifically, but I think that makes a lot of sense to me. Right. So thank you for that. It's wonderful to have real life examples that we've witnessed in our practices or people that we know of that have these good stories. Then the second piece of research called acute exercise and cardiovascular fitness modulate cognitive performance with selective effects on executive functions. And preadolescence is again looking at young adults and also endurance athletes. What they discovered is that there was an increase in selective attention, cognitive flexibility, and processing speed. And they used the Stroop test, which is a very popular test of executive functions, which I think is really interesting. And processing speed is fascinating, right. That if you're able to focus your attention, then it's easier for you to process at a faster rate. What are your thoughts on that?

      Darius: Yeah, so it's a little bit of a misnomer in some ways, because your baseline processing might not change, but the output of your processing changes because the input of the information and the attention and the focus that is coming into your brain and being processed is better, cleaner, is less inhibited. And so, yes, the output of the processing and so on is better. I think it all comes down to that. Is that information getting inside your brain? I've got a wee story. I've got a story about that to tie in with that, which is, you know, Steve Jobs.

      Darius: Whenever he had a difficult conversation to have with someone, or an important conversation or a difficult conversation, they would have a walking meeting together. And he was very famous for going on walks with people. Okay, now, here's what I'm wondering, right? You're exercising, okay? It's not aerobic exercise, but you are moving. Some of those could be tricky conversations. You know, you're being let go, you're being fired, you're being rearranged. There's a big change in a plan or a project that maybe disappoints you or is not necessarily where you thought things would go. He's changing things, etcetera. He would always do those while walking.

      Erica: That's really interesting. And I would suspect he's probably a kinesthetic processor. It would be really interesting to look at the research to see what the correlation is between those with attention deficit disorder and perhaps kinesthetic processing. Yes, well, it's interesting because particularly those with hyperactivity disorder. Right? Now, there's some people, I think that movement probably really helps them to process, and perhaps there are those that where movement distracts them. It's hard to tell. Yeah.

      Darius: but it's a popular thing to do now, you know, because there's so much in just moving that actually helps you process. I remember when I was a clay modeling teacher, okay? I used to teach clay modeling at Rudolf Steiner School in Edinburgh for the high school students. And they would all be chatting and chatting and chatting and chatting, and they wouldn't be getting onto their work. And we'd have this rule that it would be the two-minute silence rule, and you had to stay silent for two minutes. And after those two minutes, you could talk as much as you like. Okay. As loud as you like and as freely as you liked, which was quite surprising for them. But the only rule was, had to be two minutes continuous silence. And if anyone broke the silence, the silence would repeat, restart. Until what happens in those two minutes? They just sunk into the clay and started to move with their hands and to sculpt and move around. And then the moment they were moving, the moment they were doing something with their hands, the two minutes started, it ended, and they could start talking. They talked more calmly. They were in the zone. Their conversations were deeper, richer, less superficial because they were engaged with something again. And there's something about this connection, and it's a bit more oblique to what you're saying between exercise, but this just movement and doing something and your cognitive functions, just that we all instinctively have stories about where we go. Yeah, of course. Anyway, so I was just sharing that with Steve Jobs and the clay modeling. What's the next one?

      Erica: So let's move on to chronic exercise benefits. I have three bits of research to share with you. When we're talking about chronic exercise benefits, we're talking about more consistent aerobic exercise in most cases. And then the first article I want to talk about, it's, called exercise in children's cognition and academic achievement. And this was published in Educational Psychology Review. Basically, what they discovered is regular aerobic exercise had benefits in working memory, selective attention, and inhibitory control. It looks like we're getting even more benefits in the arena of executive functioning when there's that regular exercise on, all three.

      Darius: Working memory, inhibitor control, and cognitive flexibility.

      Erica: Yes, in particular, working memory and inhibitory control. Then another bit of research, this one was called exercise and children's intelligence, cognition, and academic achievement. They saw significant, changes in working memory, task switching. There's the cognitive flexibility and post error performance. Interesting. So their performance was improving. So exercise is really helping not only working memory, inhibitory control, and cognitive flexibility, but sounds like higher order executive functioning at large. And then the final one is, another meta-analysis, and I love them, because, again, we're looking at multiple bits of research. Interestingly enough, even though there was a positive correlation, there was no significant overall effect in this particular one. And however, it was a limited number of studies. And again, it was a positive correlation, just not in the significant range. So you can see that there really is a mix of research, and it's nice to show that, that some research is showing that there are significant effects, and some are not. And it'd be really interesting to pull that research apart. And look specifically at what types of exercise people are doing. I wonder if there's some types of exercise that are beneficial and maybe not so much for other types of exercise, or it might also have to do with your processing style, because I definitely know of some people that do better when they sit still and other people that do better when they're moving.

      Darius: What's caught my attention is the whole acute side of the exercise and, the root reaction, because you've done a short bit of exercise and then you get an immediate effect afterwards rather than looking at the long term effects of the exercise, because that can be more correlated to lots of other things like food and lifestyle and, training and education, all sorts of things that could be involved in that. But that acute exercise, that burst of exercise and that burst of beneficial executive function effect. And I think about all the parents that are out there, and I remember being a school teacher, it's really hard to fight for these softer skills, like, oh, we'll cut that pe class because we need another chemistry slot, or we'll cut that music class or movement class or whatever it is, because the effects are not seen in your grade, immediately, you know. But I mean, I remember when I was at school, I ended up doing an art exam. Normally you only did five subjects at the very most of, okay, but I ended up doing six for the final year, and the 6th one was art. And I said, look, I'll get worse marks if I do five than if I do six. I'm going to get better marks overall if I do six subjects than if I just do five. Because when I go into art, I can process everything that's going on in the day. I can get into that headspace. And so there are these places where it enhances your functionality in ways you can't easily measure. And these guys are measuring it from exercise and the other one's art, and then there'll be another one for sleep and those three key things.

      Erica: Well, it's interesting because you're saying that the art really gave you that fine motor processing. Right. And I can think of students that I've worked with over the years that I had to give them kinesthetic brain breaks. Yes, that's that acute. Where I saw that, all of a sudden, their brain was gone. They weren't comprehending anything. And then I'd be like, okay, looks like it's time for a brain break. And we would do something as simple as, all right, I want you to do 100 jumping jacks. Yeah, maybe not even that many? 20 jumping jacks?

      Darius: Yes.

      Erica: And make it fun. Okay. I want you to do five jumping jacks, and I want you to spin in a circle three times, and then you get to do some other kinesthetic break, and I'll do or exercise, and I'll do it with you. Let's make this fun. But I've had those students that anytime I saw that kind of glaze come over their eyes, I'm like, you need a brain break. Yes, please. Right?

      Darius: Yes. Yes. I suppose brain breaks. It's a tongue twister, isn't it? Brain breaks are the. A little secret weapon there, aren't they? You know, that this ties into brain breaks a big deal. And it's a bit of a tangent off the exercise, but in terms of this acute activity of some sort, short, acute activity, whether it's physical or mental, for me, it was juggling. So when I was studying for my exams, I really took on board the whole pomodoro principle. You work for 25 minutes, strictly 25 minutes. Then you have a strict stop, and then you have a five-minute break. Then you start again for 25 minutes, you have a five-minute break. And during that five-minute break, you don't just sit there in your seat and twiddle your thumbs or look on your phone. There were no phones at those days. But whatever, you do something, and you know what you're going to be doing. And so for me, it was playing snooker and juggling. So I do my 25 minutes. I'd run down the steps, and I would play some pool shots in the pool table and play, that for five minutes, the timer, and then run back up. And the next five minutes I do juggling. And those were really important for completely switching off from what you're doing. Absorb your brain in something, have something physical involved. Okay? It's not exercise, but it's movement, and it's different for different people. I think a lot of people get, accommodations for exams where they're allowed to move. And people don't realize this, but you can ask for an accommodation saying, look, I want to be able to get up from my exam and have five-minute breaks. Can I have breaks, please? And they put it in, and they say, yes, you can have five-minute breaks. And they get up, they move around, they stretch, they jump up and down. They do some burpees, whatever. They do something to just get the blood moving and get that energy flowing, and then they sit back down and carry on. And they've had a reset, and they're fresh again.

      Erica: Yeah, it's really interesting. You're right. I think that reset and that freshness, but it also gives the brain a moment to process. And, you know, I've often heard about, like, how you should look away. If you're working on, say, on your computer, you should look away and give yourself these micro brain breaks where you look away from it because it's almost like digestion. You're not going to fully digest what you're learning if you don't have these little breaks. And there's something to fully getting out of your head and just listening to your body because we often, I know I often ignore my body and I sit too long and then my body hurts and I just ignore it because I'm in a cognitive flow. But I think having a balance of giving your body some attention at times is really, really important. And actually, if my body starts to hurt and I'm going to talk about this because I intentionally want to increase this, my thing is jumping. Jumping is really good for you. So my father got me into jump roping and I pretend I have a jump rope and is easier than actually having a jump rope because it can knock things over. But I will do 100 jumps and then just sit back down. Or if I'm cold, my body is cold, I'll do 100 jumps and then I'm warm. But it is, it's, it refreshes the body. And the body and the brain are connected. They are. They're absolutely connected. And we have to take care of both of them and to get that blood flow. And we're reoxygenating our blood. Right, which is going to help you to think better. But when we're sitting too long, there's a certain amount of stagnation. I think that happens at least for most people, maybe not all people. What are your thoughts on that?

      Darius: I would like to know more about this because personally I don't exercise enough, and I know that, and I need to do something about it. And I'm looking forward to the physical benefits, but I'm also looking forward to the mental benefits of clarity. And I know that they're there, and you speak to so many businesspeople and executives and so on, they're like, I have to exercise in order to function properly. And I think just by all the experience that there is out there from, what would you call it, qualitative experience rather than the quantitative experience. But it's a great quantity of qualitative experience that getting out there and exercising helps you have more mental clarity, which basically translates into better executive function.

      Erica: Absolutely. And I think defining for yourself what kind of movement is most empowering. Like I was telling my, one of my dearest friends, joy, I said, you know, jumping is really good for you. She's like, oh, I can't do that. That doesn't work for me. I go for long walks with m three different people every week. Walks are wonderful and you can take a very brisk walk. And I like to go in very hilly regions because you really are getting not only cardiovascular, but you are really strengthening your body as well and your endurance. But I think it's nice to find what works for you. Some people like weightlifting, some people don't. I mean, of course, weightlifting is great for your bones, right? But to finding what works, because if you find what works, then you're going to do it.

      Darius: That's the thing that I'm focusing in on this year. I really want to get into kettlebell exercises.

      Erica: Those are fun.

      Darius: Yeah. So I'm a bit lazy. Okay. So what I set myself as a task was what is the biggest return on investment when it comes to exercise? On a 20 minutes investment of time, what's the biggest return on investment? And I've checked lots out, you know, spin classes, all the rest. I think my conclusion is kettle bell swings, okay? Where you put the kettlebell between your legs and then you swing the kettlebell up to sort of head height with your straight arms with a hinge, movement from your hips, because it gives you this ballistic exercise in all sorts of other places. You can get cardiovascular, you can get strength exercises, but it's very rare to find an exercise which is ballistic, where you have to explosively move. So it's like a sprint. And so those exercises are very rare to find and be able to do safely if you've got an older body, right? Like if you suddenly sprint, you could strain a hamstring or whatever. You know, if you do other kind of ballistic exercises where you throw something, they constrain something you can overextend or whatever. But the kettlebell is very clever because when you're ballistically moving the kettlebell from your knees up into the swing, the kettlebell's weight with gravity creates the resistance to sort of bring it to a breaking point, because with a ballistic movement, then have to slow yourself down for it to become safe again. So I'm not doing it yet because I've got a neck impingement. I've got a problem with my shoulder that I've just recovered over the last three months, and I'm building up to it, but I'm really looking forward to doing some kettlebell work.

      Erica: That's nice. And it brings in weight as well. Yeah, I've done some of that. It's really interesting. It looks simple, but it's actually quite challenging. And to think of the potential mechanisms that we're dealing with. We've talked a little bit about the increase in oxygenation to the blood, which is great, because whatever feeds the body also feeds the brain. That's the bloodstream feeds the brain. So having more oxygen, the other thing that's really interesting in the research and we've talked about in the past as well, is whenever you're exercising, there is a release of neurotransmitters and things like dopamine and norepinephrine, which also make us feel better, which make us remember better, which also helps us to process better. And then finally, the whole idea of neurogenesis and brain plasticity. Exercise also improves neurogenesis and brain plasticity. I guess, again, we're just giving the body more strength to do the things that it needs to do to keep us healthy. You know, it's so easy to just sit around and not really take care of our temple. This is a temporary body that we have. And it's so funny how you'd think we would really take care of our bodies. It's what houses our spirit, you know, it's what keeps us alive. It's our everything. And it's just amazing to me how we just live in a society where if you're a busy person, you'll wait till you're starving, and then you just scarf something down. You're not mindful at all about taking care of the mothership, you know?

      Darius: Yeah, yeah, I do, and I'm guilty of that as well. And I think as you get older, so either as you get, sicker or as you get older, you start realizing, oh, I just can't take lots of things for granted.

      Erica: That's right. Yeah, you're lucky. When you're youthful, you don't have to do a lot of these things. But as you get older, it's really important. But, you know, even when I see the little kids, if kids are just too stagnant and, in the states, they've been taking away a lot of physical exercise during the class day or the school day because they feel that it's not important enough. Or maybe they can do sports after school, or the worst possible thing that I have seen is if a child isn't doing well in school, they take away their recess.

      Darius: Oh, my goodness. Yes. That's such a good point. And that's a double killer, because they're taking away their exercise and they're taking away their friends.

      Erica: Yeah. Yeah. And they take away their spirit, and they're not able to rejuvenate. So then when they get home and they have to do their homework, they're totally spent. Then it leads to all sorts of problems at home, too. But the more I see teachers integrating actual physical brain breaks into the classroom, the better. It really helps executive functions.

      Darius: I remember my daughter's teacher in a small private school. There was one boy, and the lad would be getting antsy and misses Taylor, the teacher would say, okay, you run around the school once round the school and come back and sit down. And he would just run all the way and come back and sit down. Five minutes. He loved it. It was great. And that was his brain break. And having that insight to know what kind of brain break each person needs. Not everybody did the same thing, but that was his thing. He loved it. He needed that; energy burn off. We definitely need that. Some students that I've coached, they've got a card as part of their accommodations for dyslexia or ADHD, and they can raise this card to the teacher, and it's like a free five-minute pass. Okay? They don't need to ask permission or whatever. They just claim their card, as it were. They just raise the card. Teacher gives the nod; the kid slips away. They don't need to explain themselves or whatever, and they slip away. And they're given the responsibility with that five minutes to do what they want with it. Okay, now that could be, I'm feeling so overwhelmed and anxious right now that I just need to go into another room and just breathe deeply and get away, or I'm overwhelmed. Another one might be I'm getting angry, I'm getting frustrated. Something's happening. I don't understand it inside of me. And they go and talk to the learning support department. Someone there? Another one. They might just go to the toilet quite a lot. They might have some sickness issues, or they might go out and, do some exercise or walk up and down and then come back in. But they get given that option to self-advocate for that moment where they need it, which, in a way, is one of the best things. And I think if we can build that trust where they're not abusing that, which most of the kids that get this, they're not abusing it. And let's face it if they're going to do their own thing. They're going to do it without the card. Do you know what I mean? Oh, I need the toilet. I need the toilet. They go off and they hide in the toilet for half an hour or whatever.

      Erica: I love that idea because, well, the other thing is, it's getting kids to be mindful of what they need.

      Darius: Yeah.

      Erica: And then it's also being compassionate and listening to them, because it's so often that I work with kids and I can read a neuropsych report and I can talk to the parents, but if you just ask the kids, I'll never forget this kid that I had that everyone said he had writer's, block. And just everybody, no, he's got writer's block. He's got writer's block. And I asked him and he's like, yeah, I've got writer's block. That's what everybody says. I have writer's block. And when I had him do a drawing of what it was, it wasn't writer's block. It was writer's bottleneck. It was the opposite. It wasn't that he couldn't think of anything. It was that he was thinking of too many things. So giving kids the opportunity to express what's really going on inside, because if they hear it enough, they'll just repeat what everybody else is saying and then they lose touch with their own body. It's interesting. I would love to shift this to people in the workplace. When you think about the workplace, they don't really honor movement very much, do they? I mean, there are some places that will have a gym near where the people work, or they'll give them a gym membership, but it's very few. I wonder, how could the workplace honor people's need to be more active physically?

      Darius: Well, we've got the advantages of hybrid working is that, you know, if you're working from home some of the time, you could have a kettle bell in the corner of your office. And that's what I'm planning on doing, a couple of kettlebells. And I've got like a ten-minute routine or a 20-minute routine, which I go through, and I go, right, okay, it's morning break. I'm going to have a quick drink and I'm going to do my kettlebell exercises. Or you maybe got a standing desk, or you've got people who have got like walking desks where they've got a standing desk and a treadmill underneath it, just walking.

      Erica: I did. It didn't really work for me. I found it to be too distracting. I need that kind of acute, breaks, and I don't want it to be too long. You know, I can do a thousand jumps and it can just be ten breaks of a hundred jumps. And, you know, to do a hundred jumps takes two minutes. Yeah, you know, so. But I think paying attention to what your needs are. But also it would be nice for the workplace to honor that and to have a space where people can go and be a little kinesthetic for a moment if they need to be.

      Darius: Well, I think the responsibility needs to lie with the individual, to be quite honest. I think sometimes we think, oh, the business should do it, the company should do it, and so on. I would come back at you and say, well, if we as individuals switch onto this and realize I need to be taking brain breaks, I need to find opportunities to do such and such, then there are ways to do it. So, for example, you might say, I'm going for a walk. Quick walk around the block. I'll be back in five. You decide to walk up and down the stairs to your third floor of your office instead of taking the lift or fifth floor or 10th floor or whatever, or you decide to do it two steps at a time, ballistically do, it faster or slower. There are so many opportunities to sort of weave it in, especially this sort of short brain break, energy break type activity. What do you think of that? You know, taking it and switching it to. No, I'm going to take the control myself and put the power in my own hands.

      Erica: I love the idea. You can set an example. You can say, hey, would you like to take a work walk with me? We need to meet, but shall we walk instead? And there's so many different things that you can do and jumping. For me, I can do it anywhere. If we bring that into the culture of the workplace, even just one person brings it in. It's funny how things can expand. For example, when a lot of people were smoking, what did they create? Smoke breaks. Yes. And a lot of people would go out and have a smoke break. Why not just have, a little kinesthetic break and they could be individual or as a group.

      Darius: Well, I mean, I take regular toilet breaks, and sometimes I go to the toilet, not always when I'm desperate, but it's just like I'm just going to go to the toilet and it's a walk somewhere. I go pick up another cup of tea, I come back, and I've just had this kind of break and a reset. And I think every hour I try and walk somewhere and come back and just have a little reset. So personally, I like the pattern of every hour trying to just get up onto my feet and walk. You know, the apple watch. I got my dad an apple watch, and it sort of alerts you and saying, you've been sedentary too long. Get up and move. And it's like, what? You got to. I’ve got a moo. Oh, yeah. All right. Okay. Fair enough. And he would, he would just get up and have a walk around and so on. But it's surprising how quickly it does that. So obviously you can change these things, but, yeah, I think having those breaks is so important.

      Erica: And I just had an interesting thought, which is we've moved away from using the telephone to using Zoom. Right. And when I'm on the phone, I'm never in the same place. I'm walking all over my house, I'm walking in the garden, I'm talking and walking. But with Zoom, you can't necessarily do that. However, maybe we should, because technically, you could zoom on your phone, and you could walk and talk. I, know that I've been in some zooms where there were people that were doing just that, and it was kind of lovely. We all really kind of went on a walk with them, and there was something quite interesting about it. And I wonder, because Zoom is quite new, whether that will change over time, that people will get more comfortable, and maybe they will create platforms that are more kinesthetic friendly.

      Darius: Yeah, it's interesting you say that, because I was speaking to this guy, and he would say, I would prefer a phone call than the half hour zoom, if you don't mind, so that I can walk and talk. And that was his preferred. He was coming out of, I think, a physical injury with his carpal tunnel and so on. And so he didn't like being around keyboards and mouses and so on. So just walking helped. And that's the other thing interesting about walking from a physiotherapy perspective, is that it's really great for your posture, really great for activating your lymphatic system and your back, and that the gait of moving and walking is good for your lower back, etcetera. So there's a whole lot of benefits that you get, like, three for the price of one. In many ways, after this conversation, you've got the cognitive benefits, you've got the physical benefits. And the third thing would be you actually get your work done. So you're doing your work. I mean, I've done it with my assistant normally is, I'll just go on zoom, and walk and talk, and sometimes I'll be on video, sometimes I'll be on audio. I do that quite frequently. I like it.

      Erica: Well, you know, it's also about self-care. We live in such a fast-paced society that we just forget that we are in these bodies that need some attention. And if we don't give them the attention or, give our bodies the attention it needs, then it's not going to function that well, which will ultimately affect our cognition as well. So I guess the moral of the story here is that movement is a beautiful thing. That's what we're here to move. We're not here to be stagnant. And the more we are stagnant, the less we'll be able to move.

      Darius: That's a beautiful way of summing it all up in many ways. We started off this podcast to discuss exercise and executive function. We've gone into the realm of. Actually, it's really movement and executive function. All these different forms of movement and executive function.

      Erica: Yeah. Really lovely. I really appreciate this conversation.

      Darius: Well, it certainly made me value movement even more, added this extra layer of value into movement and understanding the value of that movement.

      Erica: And how beautiful is that? If we don't make the time to move for us, make the time to move with somebody, this is a fairly new thing. I've got two girlfriends that I walk with. One on Wednesday, one on Friday, and then I walk with my boyfriend on Sundays, and I love it. And the more I walk, the more I want to walk. I would like to walk every day. It's so great to get the light, the fresh air, the sun. It just reboots us. But if I take a nice, long walk, and sometimes I'll go for a couple hours, I'll go maybe 6 miles. And if I do that, I feel great for the rest of the day.

      Darius: Yeah. Hm. I have a dog who's now approaching 16 years old this week, so 112 years old now. He's going to die soon, probably, but he's the one who takes me for a walk, do you know what I mean? Those mornings when you're looking out and it's raining, but you've got to go for a walk because the dog needs it. So you get out there, and you're just so thankful. You went out there, you saw the sea, you smelled the air, etcetera. I'm very fortunate to live by the sea, but I wonder sometimes what's going to happen if I don't get another dog. Will I walk as much? Do you know what I mean?

      Erica: Find a walking buddy. I love my walking buddies, and they're so rich, and the conversations are so rich, and the processing, it hits so many nails on the head for me. So it's something I highly recommend. It's a sacred time for me at this point.

      Darius: Fantastic. So we've talked about walking bodies and then having walking meetings as well.

      Erica: Yeah. And you can also have walks to process. Even if you are learning as a student. You can study for a test either by yourself, or you could do Quizlet and, take a walk on your phone. You could have your parent test you. There's something to movement. You know, maybe we should get off our phones and off of our technology more and really get out into the world and move.

      Darius: Great. Erica. Till next time.

      Erica: Till next time. Thank you for joining our conversation here at the personal brain trainer podcast. This is Dr. Erica Warren and, Darius Namdaran

      Darius: Check out the show notes for links to resources mentioned in the podcast, and please leave us a review and share us on social media until next time. Bye.