Monday, 5 September 2011

Physical activity makes us smarter.

For some strange reason we have the stereotypical of muscle-fitness men as fools.

We knew that sport makes us feel good, fights depression, strengthens the immune system, guard your heart, prevents certain cancers ...

But only recently we discovered that exercising produces cells in certain parts of the brain and that it denses connections between nerve cells, which makes  more agile communications that prepairs us to learn and remember better. It has even been found that can prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, as well as mitigate the effects of hyperactivity and  deficit attention disorder.

Sports favoring neurons are aerobics, soccer, swimming, cycling, tennis, running ... Thestrength training would not cause these benefits. Sport increases blood flow in the brain and the production of BDNF protein that stimulates communication between neurons.

The brain somehow accumulates the benefits of sport, so if we practice it, the brain still has any reservations which you can dip into if you run into problems.

Some investigations in schools have resulted than those who engaged in sports like swimming, basketball, football ... a couple of times a week, they got a better performance than the ones leading a sedentary life. Some doctors aware that sport accelerates executive functioning, and promotes logic skills, math and reading, claiming that schools do more sport.

In short, the sport promotes brain plasticity that prepares you to learn better. If you play sports but the mind is not stimulated intellectually, is like breeding  unplanted ground. If the opposite happens, we plant seeds without watering or fertilizing, the plant will grow weak.

Now that we are crazy evaluating school activities for this course I would give my humble opinion. In general the kind of education in Spain is rather academic for my point of view. Many children are discouraged. I think they need to do funny things to feel safe. Myinitial intention is that my children made ​​only sports as extracurricular activities. I wish I could replace language classes for a summer au pair or a trip to a foreign country,Kumon classes for home games ... Unless there is a big area of ​​interest or a lack I will try to avoid repetitive "academic" subjects from school. (I also believe that music is very important but Dani´s school is very involved in this curricular area.) This course Dani will make pool and tennis. David will go to pool.

I recomend the book "How to teach your baby to be physically fit" from Glen Doman. I think we should all read it before having a baby. 

Another bit but more technical: "How the brain learns, the keys to education."

Reference source: "The brain and the sport." Cristina Sáez. of the great magazine"Body and mind." N231.

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