Exercise and the Brain

I have just finished reading this month’s newsletter ‘The Missile’ from Move to Learn. In it they laud the publication of a new book called SPARK – The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain – By John J Ratey MD. We all know that exercise is good for us, and for those of us involved in motor co-ordination in children, that exercise is what helps to develop the brain, not just the body. Here’s an excerpt from the article –

“This is an exciting new book by John J. Ratey, M.D. with Eric Hagerman citing many studies exploring the benefits of exercise for our brains and for our ability to learn. Nothing new to us, of course, but it’s always great to see to see what we know to be true confirmed by properly conducted research studies. As Sue Larter once said, do what works, studies will follow. Well, here are some great studies. The first case study is a PE program instituted by physical education teacher, Phil Lawler, in Naperville, Illinois school district 203. Students here are instructed on how to monitor and maintain their own health and are encouraged to move rather than sit still in front of a TV set.

They were graded on effort rather than skill and were encouraged to keep their hearts in aerobic training range (70-80% of maximum heart rate), rather than to strive for world records. It was found that apart from improved fitness, the students also got better grades and struggling students who participated in gym before school improved significantly.

According to Ratey, this is because “the relationship between food, physical activity, and learning is hardwired into the brain’s circuitry.” He believes that “the real point of exercise is to build and condition the brain.”

In the same newsletter I found an interesting activity you might like to try with the children in your care. These activities are such fun. As they say in the ad, ‘don’t tell them it’s good for them.’

“To help develop eye/hand co-ordination & tracking: take an empty egg carton and jump a marble around the spaces.” ~ Carol Bartlett – Behavioural Optometrist

For further information on this article go to www.movetolearn.com.au.

To purchase Move to Learn products, especially the DVD demonstrating the movement sequences that help to wire up the brain in all children, but especially those with learning difficulties, go to www.kidzfizbiz.com.

About Kidz-Fiz-Biz

Marlene Rattigan is teacher in Early Childhood & of English as a Second Language & from 1987-2000 was an accredited fitness leader.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Childhood Health, Classroom Activities, Early Childhood Development, Music & Movement, Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s