I have written about this before from a number of different perspectives.  Currently, a study from theUniversityofNorth Texas presented to the Psychological Association – suggesting that a healthy heart and lung may one of the most important factors for students in school…

Trent A. Petrie, PhD, professor of psychology and director of the Center for Sport Psychology:

Cardiorespiratory fitness was the only factor that we consistently found to have an impact on both boys’ and girls’ grades on reading and math tests… This provides more evidence that schools need to re-examine any policies that have limited students’ involvement in physical education classes.”

I practiced as a Registered Psychologist for 25 years and utilized the same logic for my depressive clients.  So what is the connection?

What do I mean by movement? I don’t suggest that it has to be cardiovascular exercise or weight training.  Movement might be yoga, or palettes; it might Tai Chi or Karate; it might be power walking or running; you get to choose.

So why is it important?  Because movement aids the body’s capacity:

  •  to move the blood
  •  to get oxygen into the blood and to the rest of the body
  •  to get CO2 out of the body – a byproduct and toxic
  •  to move toxins to the liver to be metabolized and ready for elimination
  •  to bring nutrients to the cells so that they can perform
  •  increase levels of neurotransmitters like norephinephrine and endorphins
  •  increase levels of nerve proteins like brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)

together these variables also help:

  • prevent diabetes & improves insulin sensitivity
  •  increases fat metabolism & the regulation of hormones like leptin & grehlin
  •  optimizes cholesterol levels
  •  boosts various hormones like human growth hormone (HGH)

Now the brain, takes up a lot of oxygen and a growing brain takes up even more oxygen.  In addition, the brain needs nutrients to develop and protect nerve cells.

What are the benefits:

  •  Reduction of stress which leads to oxidative stress -> inflammation -> deterioration

This allows for greater neural functioning:

  •              Multi tasking
  •              Learning
  •              Concentration
  •               Strategic thinking

Exercise allows for more effective coordination between the different lobes in the brain.  When the brain’s frontal lobes are in balance, without one hemisphere being more dominant than the other, the whole system works more effectively…all aspects of intelligence increase effectively…and the student (or anyone) performs better.


For more information, contact: Dr Holly at holly@choicesunlimited.ca

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