Does Exercise Really Improve the Mind?

Or are fitness gurus just spouting off non-sense?


Welcome to this episode of Live Better with your host, Yasmin Shiraz. You can listen to this as a podcast or read the script below.

Today’s topic poses a question and it is: Does exercise really improve the mind? Fitness experts say it does. Celebrities seem to be obsessed with it, but what about every day people? Can exercise improve your mind as well? I’ve exercised most of my life, but I’m no fitness fanatic and I’m not an actress worrying about appearing 10 lbs heavier on screen. So, here are a few questions I’d like to ask you before we begin.


  1. Do you ever feel that fear gets in your way?
  2. Do you ever have problems finishing what you start?
  3. Do you ever struggle with starting something new?


If you answered yes to any of those three questions, then you already know how exercise helps me. Let’s first address fear. Through the course of my career as an author, speaker, and filmmaker, I’m often selling people on my ideas. I’m calling librarians, colleges, film festivals and telling them about my work. It takes a lot of courage to cold call people and them convince them that they should accept you or your work. On days when I haven’t worked out, I’m less likely to reach out to people and sell them on my work. I can’t really put my finger on it, but it’s like I don’t have the courage to do it. But, if I go to the gym and hit it for a good 45 minutes, I feel like I can take on the world.


Being able to finish what I start is also positively impacted by my workout regimen. When I return to the office from the gym, my mind is saying, “Okay, what’s next. What do I have to do? What do I have to finish?” It’s like working out ignites something inside of me that makes me want to finish whatever is on my to do list. And, I’ve personally noticed on days when I haven’t hit the gym, I’m not thinking about my to-do list as much. Sad, but true.


Many of us struggle with starting new things. I’m in the same boat. But, I’ve noticed that when I’m exercising, I feel stronger and more capable. I don’t think about failure or self-doubt. I just –to borrow from Nike– do it.


At the end of my week, I go over my days and examine how productive I’ve been. Hands down, on weeks that I’ve worked out consistently, I’ve accomplished more. If you’d like to see if exercise can affect you positively, compare your accomplished from a week of you doing exercise, to a week when you’re not doing exercise. I’ve known some people to be highly productive without exercising, I’m just not one of them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of Live Better with Your Host Yasmin Shiraz. If you have any tips or questions that you’d like me address on my site or on the Live Better podcast, please email me at YShiraz AT YasminShiraz dot net. For more Live Better episodes, please visit , sign up on iTunes or sign up on Stitcher Radio.

See you next time

%d bloggers like this: