Physical Exercise For A Better Brain | The Knowledge Dynasty

Physical Exercise For A Better Brain

Most of us know that physical exercise is good for our general health, but did you know that physical exercise is also good for your brain? If you think you’re going to get smarter sitting in front of your computer or watching television, think again. Here scientists present the evidence that a healthy human being is a human doing. Not too long ago, futurists envisioned humans evolving giant thumbs in response to a push-button world. They did not foresee humanity’s real response to all its labor-saving conveniences – a sedentary, inactive society with a deteriorated vascular system and consequent decline in physical and mental health. Nearly half of young people ages 12 to 21 do not participate in vigorous physical activity on a regular basis. Fewer than one-in-four children report getting at least half an hour of any type of daily physical activity and do not attend any school physical education classes. In June 2001, ABC News reported that school children spend 4.8 hours per day on the computer, watching TV or playing video games. The impact of computers, video games, school funding cuts and public apathy has combined to leave Illinois as the only state that still requires daily physical education in 1st through 12th grades. This is a far cry from the 1960s, when President John F. Kennedy made physical fitness a priority for Americans of all ages. These sedentary tendencies represent a real health crisis. And, not just for couch-potatoes. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) occurs when blood circulation slows, allowing clots to form and then, eventually, break free, and causing death. DVT has been nicknamed “economy class syndrome,” because airplane passengers who sit throughout a long flight in the close quarters of economy class have become victims of DVT.

If you begin juggling as an adult, for example, you will let your brain grow systematically. Scientists from Germany (Jena and Re­gensburg) were the first to discover this and describe it in the journal “Nature” in 2004. The scientists let people with an ave­rage age of 22 years learn how to juggle for three months. The twelve most adept candidates were able to keep three balls in the air for at least one minute at the end of this period. Their brains were scanned with MRT before practice, directly afterwards and after a three-month break from juggling. For comparison, the brains of two untrained subjects were taken. After three months the brains of the jugglers had changed at both side lobes. The so-called intraparietal sulcus, which is specialized on the perception of objects, displayed a notice­able growth. After a longer break, the growth only regressed partially. Kempermann and Hans-Georg Kuhn were also the ones to dis­cover the beneficial effect of movement and learning ten ye­ars ago at the laboratory of Fred Gage at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. They kept adult mice in a diversified environment with tunnels, running wheels and many different toys. A later examination of their brains proved that these specimens had developed far more nerve cells than the ones that were squeezed into regular small laboratory ca­ges and lived in a vegetative state. The varied environment and the complex movements apparently led to the formation of complex brains

Ingo Weigel is a martial arts and self-defense expert with over 20 years of training and experience. He is an author and the founder of Revat, an innovative and revolutionary martial art, fitness and personal safety program designed for professional adults living in an urban environment. Weigel is fluent in English and German.

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