Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Fitness & Learning

“Exercise is medicine,” claims researcher John Ratey (2007). Exercise impacts the brain, both at the system and cellular levels, and promotes new cell growth within the brain. Additionally, according to Ratey, exercise positively influences:
  • attention and motivation
  • impulsivity
  • mood
  • the ability to overcome learned helplessness
  • norepinephrine levels (neurotransmitter associated with mood, self-esteem, and perception)
  • serotonin levels (neurotransmitter associated with mood, impulse control, and learning
  • dopamine levels (neurotransmitter associated with memory, attention, and problem-solving)
  • beta-endorphins associated with stress and pain management
  • brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein released during exercise, that promotes the growth of neurons and synapses
Ratey, whose book SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain will be released in January, also cites research showing that schools with daily physical education programs have higher student achievement. They key, stresses Ratey, is the school’s emphasis on physical fitness rather than athletics. Fit students make better students.

(Oh, and fit teachers make better teachers, too!)

Give this some thought on that afternoon walk or run!

More information can be found at Dr. Ratey's website: www.johnratey.com.

Ratey, J. (2007, Nov.). SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Presented at Learning and the Brain: Using Brain Research to Enhance Cognitive Abilities and Achievement.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more! Please check out my blog on ExerLearning http://exerlearning.blogspot.com and generation FIT www.generation-fit.com. I use both to expand exactly the fitness and learning benefits you mention here.