By Reese Floyd, CPT, & Spark Starter!
In today’s world we have seen science make leaps and bounds forward in understanding the human brain. There has been mapping out of synapses, pinpointing damage, and treating of ailments. However, there is now studies presenting the idea of exercise improving our brain function.
In Spark, The Revolutionary New Science Of Exercise And The Brain, written by John J. Ratey, MD with Eric Hagerman, we are given the science and examples of how an active lifestyle can greatly impact the health of our mental faculties. Correlation of exercise and the brain can boost memory, elevate moods, and create a more resilient mind with proper activity and rest.
In the early chapters of this book, we are given a look into how a school system revamped their physical education program. This reworking of their system has improved the test scores and has given the students a better sense of their health in the long run. A few students even remarked how this new program has boosted social skills, and the use of exercise for stress and tackling new challenges. This new program is combinations of health monitoring, goal achievement, practice and principles of fitness. There has been other school systems who have adapted these ideas and has seen a drop in physical altercations and a rise in standardized test scores. There was also a increase in the students executive functions, the ability to make decisions based on past experience and learning from mistakes. Now there are current programs educating schools and teachers how to implement this new physical education not to make kids fit, but give them all the tools to stay fit for life.
Throughout Spark there is also the science behind how brains work and how gene expression is also impacted by exercise. The balancing of hormones, the growth and improved plasticity of synapses from purposeful aerobic activity, and preserving brain health and age through strength training. This information coupled with the studies showing brain improvement mapped out on MRI’s clearly give evidence to a mind body connection.
We all want a better quality of life with exercise, but have we ever considered better cognitive function and a faster mile time? In Spark we see the evidence of all around health benefits at any age with proper regimented exercise. So then let us all work smart, for heart and mind.