Saturday, March 4, 2017

Fitness for the Brain

This comes from an email sent out by Scott Sonnon who has some excellent training programs for sale at his RMAX site. (I do not have any financial stake in this endorsement.)

If you consistently move every day in the right way (explained below), you will experience significant testing score improvement in comprehending the written and spoken word, as well as, improve in scores in mathematics and science. Follow the 5 simple, practical steps to transform your movement exercise into brain power.
Neuroplasticity pioneer Michael Merzenich demonstrated that improving the ability to distinguish movement improves the general ability of the brain to keep time (called Temporal Processing). That improvement spills over into visual, auditory and fine motor processing, as having "more slices of time" improves the amount of data captured by the brain, and less missed micro-moments where data is uncollected.
Movement improved even visual-based IQ tests, so it isn't a character of mere exercise transferability to fine-motor enhancements. Your mental processing improves due to movement in a general way because of the improved temporal processing of motor control and spatial awareness. This improvement in motor control impacts the sense of time in the brain - its internal timepieces - which result in "better timing" of the entire brain.
Improved timing causes you to better comprehend reading, to better distinguish and store words that are spoken, and to improve your handwriting. Because of the spillover of these mechanical improvements in eye, ear and hand, your scores in math, science and social studies improve as well. Harvard Medical School Clinical Psychologist, John Ratey detailed these test score increases with relation to movement at "zero hour" (the hour before studying).
Those with prior learning disabilities, now can test higher than those with neuro-typical brains. As the saying goes, hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work. Imagine the test differences for those not facing learning challenges. Unfortunately, because people with "normal" brains don't experience performance deficits, they frequently don't consider the value of movement on optimizing their mental potential.
Neuroscience is beginning to explain in layman terms how movement, navigation and learning are collocated in the same brain region, and ignoring one, affects the other tenants. Test scores in ALL children decrease as schools remove movement from class schedules. For adults, the desk has become the new prison: mental performance plummets due to an absence of movement.
As I have provided for national security elements, Fortune 100 corporations, billionaires and professional sports: what works on the damaged brain or learning challenged brain also improves elite mental performance, on a continuum. The formula is very simple, if you'd like to apply it to your own mental performance.
  • Move daily, each morning, and for a few minutes at least every 90 minutes.
  • Perform complex movement once per day (mountain trail biking vs stationary bike, trail running / walking versus treadmill, and clubbells/kettlebells/medballs/sandbags versus machine lifting are examples of complex versus simple movement).
  • Perform some sort of exercise which challenges you to be "out of breath" at least every other day (preferably, daily). Use breath control techniques to recover your breathing as fast as possible, or you lose the effect.
  • Perform 15-20 minutes of this movement exercise.
  • Perform the movement at moderate intensity as it needs to be sufficient but non-excessive for optimal brain affect.
Move in the above manner, and you'll become stronger but more importantly, smarter.

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