Hello everyone! This is The WOW – The Workout of the Week, for the week of 3/18/19. This is The Art-Flow For Your Brain Workout. This week I will be looking into some of the benefits of creating art, like drawing, for the brain. In addition, I will have some Freestyle Boxing intervals, more Tai Chi, a spin bike session, and some Yoga!
I have always been a “doodler”. My elementary school notebooks are filled with weird little pictures. As much of a doodler as I was, I did not take art classes beyond elementary school required art classes. Those classes never got me interested in art. My mother and sister are both naturally VERY talented in art-stuff. As a kid, my art stuff never compared to theirs, so I thought I was just bad at art. After that opinion was stuck, I just stopped pursuing art and drawing for a long time.
I realize now that art skills can be developed, just like other skills.
I have been playing around with cartoon ideas for a while. More or less, I think I am bored after six years of working full time and going to school. I have found that drawing and creating art stuff helps me with this boredom. Drawing makes me feel happier and less stressed out. Creating art definitely gets me into a Flow State. I could sit for three hours and draw something simple like an apple and have no concept of that much time passing – I did it this morning, while creatively avoiding research for this post I am writing!
This really got me thinking, creating art must be good for the brain …
I wanted to find out what’s happening here. Is art really good for the brain? If so, why?
Sooooo…I fired up my “Google-machine” and did some LIGHT research for this post. The following few paragraphs will summarize some findings and provide the links. Check out the links for continued research of your own. DON’T JUST TAKE MY WORD FOR THIS! Pursue your own answers (do this in all things)! Maybe I am lying… MUH-HA-HA-HA! Maybe I found bad research. Prove me wrong! If you do, post the links! 🙂
Doing Some Art Research
As it turns out, we humans are basically “art-machines”. We have been creating “art” since we developed the opposable thumb and figured out we could scratch pictures into cave walls. According to Science, and Matt Davis, writing at Big Think, people started drawing in caves about 70,000 years ago. It’s like human brains just have an “art-bone” in there somewhere. And those cave drawings, yeah those are the oldest recorded human history. In this article, Davis goes on to list several benefits of drawing and reasons why people draw stuff. Check out the link for the deep research!
Some key points in the article:
- Doodling is actually a form of actively focusing attention
- Drawing improves our perception of the world and things in it
- Drawing is a skill that anyone can work to develop
- Developing drawing skills helps to develop better observation skills in real life
- **Example – Biology students – drafting used to be required, many biology programs are reintroducing this standard because drawing helps enhance humans’ ability to better understand things
Creating Art is Good, No Matter Your Skill Level
So we know that people have naturally created art for, well as long as we have been people. And we see there could be some benefits to it. But do we have to be “GOOD” at art to benefit from creating it?
According to Sean Kane, in a 2016 Tech Insider article, the answer is NO, you don’t have to be skillful at art to benefit from creating it. Kane writes that no matter the skill, the act of creating art is beneficial. Here are some details from Kane’s article:
- Studies linked show that creating art could lead to reduced stress and anxiety
- Making visual art improves neural connective pathway in the default mode network
- Doodling, like during a boring class lecture, actually helps people retain and better understand information
- I doodled all the time in classes throughout elementary and high school class lectures and rarely studied outside of class, yet got good grades and never applied myself. Maybe doodling is part of the reason why I was successful in school but never needed to study.
- Drawing gets us into Flow-State
- These benefits are present no matter the “quality” of the art produced
Art – Great For Development
According to Learning Liftoff art is one of the most important things for development. Learning art teaches kids things like motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and how to be creative. Check out this article for 10 great reasons kids should be involved in art!
I think these brain benefits will be good as I get older. Indeed, there is abundant research to suggest that engaging in creative arts help us in many ways as we age. I did a WOW all about the benefits of learning music a few weeks ago, drawing seems to have many of the same benefits for people again as playing and learning music does. Namely – It keeps us sharp!
A 2015 article on the Art Works Blog, states that creating art can help with cognitive function as we age. The article cites other supporting research studies. Check out this article and some of the other 3 billion google search results on this topic for more.
How Do I Get Started?
Getting started with drawing is pretty easy, just pick up a pen or pencil and go. If you want to get better though, you might think about a class. My favorite learning tool is YouTube and there are more videos on drawing than I ever imagined.
A few things I wanted to improve with drawing are shading and drawing “hero” characters. I found some videos that focus
Practice Drawing With Some YouTube Videos
I found a YouTube video from Robert Marzullo that teaches how to draw comic book type heroes. Check it out!
My First Attempt at Drawing Comic Book Guys, after this video
How To Shade Stuff Better
My first try
Try Finding a Video That Shows How to Draw Something You’re Interested In
There are YouTube videos, Udemy Classes, Community Center courses, and many other ways to learn more about doing art. I think art is great for the brain because of some of the reasons found in the research I shared, but for me personally, it’s as much about flow as anything else. I find something that creatively interests me and I can almost live in flow in that place for a while! 🙂
There are so many helpful tips and videos available, I can’t think of an excuse not to go deeper into drawing. Maybe drawing and creating “art stuff” could help you too!
In all this research the most clear thing is that if you practice creating art, you will benefit from it, no matter your skill level. For me, I enjoy doodling, but want to get better. So I am going to practice this week (and in future) as part of the WOW stuff. It’s my goal to practice drawing stuff three days this week, for at least 30 minutes each session. Maybe adding drawing/art activities into your schedule could help you too!
Anyone who reads The WOW post knows that music is a “YUGE” part of my life. This week I am working out to a great mix from one of my YouTube faves, FM- Fantastic Music. FM has hours of awesome music, please show them some love and check out their content!
Waiting For You Mix from FM
AS ALWAYS! – warm up
I don’t always post a warm-up video but it is critically important to warm-up before jumping into a hard workout. I do this warm-up from fighttips.com, pretty much every morning, and before every workout.
2 Round FreeStyle FIIT Tabata Burner
After the warm-up, I am bustin’ out my interval timer (phone app) and my Meister weighted gloves for two rounds of FIIT Tabata Burners!
Interval timers need to be set to 16 X 20×10, or 8 X 20×10 – depending on if you want a break. If taking a break, no more than 60 seconds. Or just burn through all intervals in one shot like me! 🙂
I am doing free-style combos at 85% max intensity for the 20-second interval, and doing boxer shuffle at 65% max intensity for the 10-second interval.
FIIT = Flow Intensity Interval Training – 85% max during the “on”, and 65% max during the “off”!
Tai Chi – Mon, Wed, Fri
On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of this week, I will be practicing more of what I call “Ssssllllooowwww-Mo Kung Fu”, or “Kung-Fu-Yoga”, known to most of you as Tai Chi. I will be doing 30-minute sessions this week.
I have been trying Tai Chi for a few weeks and really like it. It takes some practice though. The Master Wong videos I have previously linked are great! Check out the last two WOWs for the Master Wong links, and more Tai Chi stuff.
Spin Bike And Yoga – Tuesday and Thursday
Off days, straight up cardio Dude! Get it.
On Tuesday and Thursday, after the boxing FIIT Burner, it’s on to the spin bike for some “Random Ride” intervals.
I am setting my timer for a 10-minute warm up, then for 20-minutes of random spin with varying intensity and length of intervals – ***with 5 reps at 85% max FTP for at least 30-seconds (I count “one-elephant, two-elephant…”), The rest of the time can be random, but at least 5 reps at 85% max for 30 seconds or more. Then finish the bike session by cooling down with a 10-minute free spin.
Yoga For Cyclists from Yoga w/Adriene!
Last up is a favorite yoga video, from a favorite yoga content provider; Yoga for Cyclist, from Yoga With Adriene. Yoga With Adriene is awesome and this video just one of the hundreds of great yoga videos available on their YouTube Channel.
Make It An Awesome Week!
I knew people “drew stuff” a long time ago, cave drawings, but I never really thought about how drawing is just natural to people. In thinking and researching this, I have learned some things about myself this week – like how I was able to doodle my way through grade school and pass classes without effort – for example. I learned why creating “art” is a good thing for people to practice. I learned a few new techniques for continued practice along the way.
Maybe picking up an artistic hobby, like drawing, or playing music – see older WOW on benefits of music – could benefit your life too!
There you have it my friends, The WOW, for the week of 3/18/19. Thank you so much for reading! Thank you to all the awesome free content providers! Be happy and healthy my friends. Make some art and write it into your hero story this week! 🙂