We are often told that we need to exercise to keep our hearts healthy. We now know that exercise can also keep our brains healthy too! So, when we take part in physical exercise like running, dancing or swimming it is good for our mental wellbeing as well as our physical health. For superheroes it is essential that they keep up with their physical training in order to be ready to save the world. Superheroes like Steve Rogers (Captain America) & Sam Wilson (Falcon) like to go for an early morning run. Doing some exercise everyday can help you feel happier and more relaxed. Although I am not sure we are going to be able to match the 13 miles in 30 minutes that Captain America can run!
Exercising, like going for a walk or a bike ride, can help clear our heads when we are feeling worried. In addition, when we do a physical activity our body releases endorphins – known as the happiness hormones. This is why sometimes after we have been exercising hard, we can feel a real buzz. Exercise can also help us if we are feeling angry and upset. Captain America takes out his aggression on a punch bag. Using the punch bag helps him to cope with his memories of the plane crash that caused him to inhale the HYDRA nerve gas which put him in suspended animation.
A less well-known benefit of exercising is that it can cause a process called neurogenesis. This is where new brain cells are formed deep within the brain. After high intensity exercise (like skipping, running up the stairs, or doing jumping jacks) new brain cells can form in an area of the brain called the hippocampus. Scientists think that this explains why people who exercise can get better at remembering things. Therefore, it is no surprise that although Shuri is one of the smartest people in Wakanda, she still finds time to do some combat training.
We might not be able to run as fast or leap as high as a superhero, but we still benefit from exercising. It is important that if you do start exercising you ask for some help and advice from a caregiver or teacher. Superheroes often have a trainer who can guide them in their fitness programme or exercise with friends. For example, Wonder Woman is trained by Amazonian warriors in skills such as horse riding and archery. Also, although Dr Strange learns the mystic arts from The Ancient One, he also learns hand-to-hand combat from his teacher, Mordo. Joining a martial arts club or learning some dance moves are great ways to have fun and help your brain at the same time.
If you want to learn more about the connection between wellbeing and exercise check out the information on the Royal College of Psychiatrists website