Clearly the brain is a pretty important organ, and yet we generally don’t give it much thought on a regular basis. When you look at the information the health and fitness industry is pumping out you’d think the brain was inconsequential. In school we spend years learning how to learn, process information, solve problems and the like, but no time whatsoever is put into keeping your brain healthy. So neither the health industry nor our schools teach us anything about the physical health of our brain.
If we want our brains to function at full capacity we need to take care of our brain health. I will be posting a 12 part series on brain rules. Some fundamental principles to keep in mind when we’re talking about optimizing brain health. These rules are from the Brain Development Principles from Frank Sahlein. These 12 rules were written by Dr. John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and research consultant.
Rule #1: Exercise Boosts Brain Power
Well isn’t this interesting? His rule. A molecular biologist starts with exercise, and yet our schools have decimated PE departments, and generally what is in place is so sub-standard when it comes to exercise we shouldn’t accept what’s going on.
This ties in well with my post a while back Training Makes You Smarter
“The human brain evolved under conditions of almost constant motion. From this, one might predict that the optimal environment for processing information would include motion. That is exactly what one finds. Indeed, the best business meeting would have everyone walking at about 1.8 miles per hour. Researchers studied two elderly populations that had led different lifestyles, one sedentary and one active. Cognitive scores were profoundly influenced. Exercise positively affected executive function, spatial tasks, reaction times and quantitative skills. So researchers asked: If the sedentary populations become active, will their cognitive scores go up? Yes, it turns out, if the exercise is aerobic. In four months, executive functions vastly improve; longer, and memory scores improve as well.
Exercise improves cognition for two reasons:
1. Exercise increases oxygen flow into the brain, which reduces brain-bound free radicals. One of the most interesting findings of the past few decades is that an increase in oxygen is always accompanied by an uptick in mental sharpness.
2. Exercise acts directly on the molecular machinery of the brain itself. It increases neurons’ creation, survival, and resistance to damage and stress.