We have known for decades that exercise is good for the body but only recently has research shown just how exercise affects the brain and learning.
In a new book by Dr. John Ratey, MD who is a professor and researcher at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Ratey makes a case for how much exercise improves motivation, mood, focus and other functions of the brain or mind. His book is called Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
Dr. Ratey has done research on how exercise affects test scores for the Naperville school district in Illinois in 2002. This school district adapted a rigorous exercise program where all the students exercised vigorously for 15 minutes of every hour using a heart monitor to be sure to get their heart rate up to an elevated rate.
The result was that after a year of this they scored number 1 in science and number 6 in math in the International Science and Math out of all the schools in the school district of Illinois. The US has always scored in the teens in this test.
In his book he talks about how exercise affects learning as well as many other topics of brain functioning such as preventing the effects of aging.
He discusses 3 ways that exercise improves brain functioning. They are:
• Exercise decreases anxiety and improves focus which aids in learning new things.
• Exercise creates a chemical environment in the brain that make the brain ready to take in new information.
• Exercise promotes the growth of new nerve cells from stem cells in the brain.
Dr. Ratey believes that we were designed to be more active than we are. With the new standard of doing everything on the computer, we are compromising our bodily functions by using technology rather than our bodies to accomplish tasks. He supports this view by citing how much the obesity level has grown in the past 8 years: a huge 10 percent in the United States.
This book is important for anyone who is interested in recovering from anything from dementia to ADHD to diabetes... an interesting extension of the wonderful research that is being done in the neuroscience field.
Visit this website
to learn more about this new book.
- Susan Quinn