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From the Blog

Exercise and Brain Power

Is there a correlation between exercise and brain power?

Whether you are a student, the parent of a student, or a teacher, you likely have one thing on your mind:  academic performance.

From kindergartners to graduate level college students, concentration and learning are critical and directly related to how successful the year is and how bright the future looks. But did you know academics and fitness go hand in hand?

Physical exercise and brain power are interrelated.

Consistent, daily exercise results in significantly improved concentration, learning, and test scores.

brain-running-on-treadmill

In his book, Spark, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Harvard Psychiatrist Dr. John Ratey cites studies that document dramatic increases in the academic performance of students when they begin adding exercise to their daily schedule.

City Park Collegiate school in Saskatoon Saskatchewan is an inner city school in which many students have both behavioral and academic challenges.  But after bringing treadmills into the class room and letting the students use them, behavioral and academic problems improved.

Students were able to sit still longer, concentrate better and scores began sky rocketing.  In just four months, the students in Allison Cameron’s class began improving academically.  Grade level increases were in the 27%-36% range, and math increases were similar.1

All it took was 20 minutes of exercise each morning.

What is it about exercise that causes such significant changes?  Scientists are still trying to understand it, but it appears as though exercise helps to lay down new pathways in the brain, which aids learning.  Neurogenesis also seems to be stimulated by exercise.  Neurogenesis is the process by which the brain grows new brain cells.  These new brain cells help build the new pathways along which learning can take place.2

City Park isn’t the only school that has seen improvements in student’s academic and behavioral performance. At Naperville Central High School west of Chicago, similar results were seen, with students dramatically improving in reading, math3 and science.

The take-away message?  If you are a student, a parent of a student or even a teacher, exercise should be a top priority.  To neglect it is to sabotage potential and open the door for behavioral problems.

Resist the urge to neglect exercise in order to spend more time with the books.  You can do both and your study time will be much more productive if you feed your brain with exercise!

Just like working with qualified teachers, hire a qualified personal trainer to create a program that is designed for you or your child to excel.

Sources:

1 http://impossible2possible.com/modules/baffin/AP%20Word%20Module%202%20-%20Exercising%20your%20Brain.f.pdf

2 Ibid.

3 http://abcnews.go.com/WN/exercise-school-leads-learning/story?id=10371315#.UD-6YKMq4uM

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