Can The Brain Improve With Exercise
A recent New York magazine story published by Pro Bronson and Ashley Merryman detailed an experiment where a teacher was able to impact math scores by having children read out loud a scientific paper on how the brain is a muscle that will respond to exercise. The knowledge of this opportunity encouraged students to work harder and a new improved trend was established.
In another world, far away, in the world of neuroscience, the idea that the brain is like a muscle has received an enormous amount of attention since the famous ferret experiment in 2000 that proved that the brain is basically tissue like muscle that can be called to action for any purpose. This is brain plasticity.
The obvious implication is that brain is like a muscle new tissue is available for a specific task if that task is exercised correctly. It is known for instance that violinists have much more brain activity related to movement of their fret-board fingering hand the accuracy and speed required for this exacting task is met by the brain devoting more resources to developing skills beyond what is needed for normal function.
The Biggest Part: The Cerebrum
The biggest part of the brain is the cerebrum. The cerebrum is the thinking part of the brain and it controls your voluntary muscles the ones that move when you want them to. So you need your cerebrum to dance or kick a soccer ball.
You need your cerebrum to solve math problems, figure out a video game, and draw a picture. Your memory lives in the cerebrum both short-term memory and long-term memory . The cerebrum also helps you reason, like when you figure out that you’d better do your homework now because your mom is taking you to a movie later.
The cerebrum has two halves, with one on either side of the head. Scientists think that the right half helps you think about abstract things like music, colors, and shapes. The left half is said to be more analytical, helping you with math, logic, and speech. Scientists do know for sure that the right half of the cerebrum controls the left side of your body, and the left half controls the right side.
Improve Your Skills At Things You Already Do
Some repetitive mental stimulation is okay as long as you look to expand your base skills and knowledge. Common activities such as gardening, sewing, playing bridge, reading, painting, and doing crossword puzzles have value, but push yourself to do different gardening techniques, more complex sewing patterns, play bridge against more talented players to increase your skill, read new authors on varied subjects, learn a new painting technique, and work harder crossword puzzles. Pushing your brain to new heights helps to keep it healthy and strong.
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Memory: Your Brain Is Like A Muscle Use It Or Lose It
The human brain is very small and light , but it needs about 20% of the oxygen that our body takes in. We cant think well if our brain isnt getting enough oxygen, so always make sure there is enough oxygen in the air when you need to learn or remember something!
No one can remember everything, but everyone can learn how to improve ther memory. Here are tips none of them can make your memory 100% perfect, but all of them are helpful:
- When you wat to remember something, tell a friend about it. This way the new information becomes more memorable. Later on, think about the conversation with your friend. It will remind you of the information you wanted to remember.
- Dont over-train your brain. When youve remembered a list of new vocabulary, stop studying. Its better to study a lot of material for a small amount of time than a small amount of material for a lot of time! But remember: you do have to practise your new vocabulary regularly!
- Our memory works well when we are asleep. If you want to remember something, go to bed and go to sleep immediately after learnng it.
- If you have to remember something big, break it down into smaller sections. Its easier to remember 198756430387 if you break it into four smaller bits: 198 756 430 387.
- If you want to remember a piece of information, and you cant, dont get angry. Relax and tell yourself, If its important, I will remember it later.
- Food for the goldfish
- A vocabulary notebook
- A bottle of shampoo
Is The Brain Like A Muscle Really
Back in 2007, Ashley and I reported on the science of praise for New York magazine, highlighting in particular the body of work by Dr. Carol Dweck. Dweck had done studies for over a decade and we covered them all including a brand new semester-long intervention that had been conducted with Lisa Blackwell at Life Sciences Secondary School in East Harlem.
Life Sciences is a health-science magnet school with high aspirations but 700 students whose main attributes are being predominantly minority and low achieving. The scholars split the kids into two groups for an eight-session workshop. The control group was taught study skills, and the others got study skills and a special module on how intelligence is not innate. These students took turns reading aloud an essay on how the brain grows new neurons when challenged. They saw slides of the brain and acted out skits. After the module was concluded, Blackwell tracked her students’ grades to see if it had any effect.
It didn’t take long. The students who had been taught that intelligence can be developed improved their study habits and grades. In a single semester, Blackwell reversed the students’ longtime trend of decreasing math grades.
The only difference between the control group and the test group were two lessons, a total of 50 minutes spent teaching not math but a single idea: that the brain is a muscle. Giving it a harder workout makes you smarter. That alone improved their math scores.
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Dedicate Yourself To New Learning
Put 15 minutes in your day to learn something new. Einstein said that if anyone spends 15 minutes a day learning something new, in a year he or she will be an expert! Learn by taking a class. Try square-dancing, chess, tai chi, yoga, or sculpture. Parents, work with modeling clay or Playdough with your kids to boost their brains. It helps develop agility and hand-brain coordination!
Youd Rest It When Its Sore
Back when I was dancing 10-14 hours a week, Id occasionally pull a muscle. Id be tempted to stretch the pain out and get moving again, but my instructor warned me that this would only make the recovery longer. So, I had to suck it up and stop for a couple days.
Your brain works the same way. You cant keep stretching it when its already hurtingthatll only make it harder to get back to a normal, comfortable, productive state.
When youre tired, you cant keep staying up late and skipping out on sleep. When youve been staring at a computer screen for 12 hours, you wont be any more effective at coming up with new ideas if you keep staring at it.
Know when its time to stop and rest, and take it. Your wounds will heal, and youll get back to work faster and better than ever.
Lobes Of The Brain And What They Control
Each brain hemisphere has four sections, called lobes: frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital. Each lobe controls specific functions.
- Frontal lobe. The largest lobe of the brain, located in the front of the head, the frontal lobe is involved in personality characteristics, decision-making and movement. Recognition of smell usually involves parts of the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe contains Brocas area, which is associated with speech ability.
- Parietal lobe. The middle part of the brain, the parietal lobe helps a person identify objects and understand spatial relationships . The parietal lobe is also involved in interpreting pain and touch in the body. The parietal lobe houses Wernickes area, which helps the brain understand spoken language.
- Occipital lobe. The occipital lobe is the back part of the brain that is involved with vision.
- Temporal lobe. The sides of the brain, temporal lobes are involved in short-term memory, speech, musical rhythm and some degree of smell recognition.
A Stubbornly Persistent Myth
Thinking about learning Latin for the sake of building mental muscles is so far from the current educational norm, that it can feel almost quaint. We see ourselves as above falling for such a simplistic error in our own ideas about learning, right?
Yet, its exactly a revival of this failed analogy that you see popping up in all sorts of places.
Critical thinking is often touted as the must-teach skill in high-schools and colleges. And while learning logic and syllogisms may be useful in some particular settings, the idea that this exercise trains us to be good thinkers generally was given a thrashing almost a century ago.
Similar are the cries for universal training in programming. While programming is definitely a useful skill and there are many practical applications for programming, thats not the only reason offered for it. Programmers have better thinking skills, it has been argued, and that teaching kids to code will help them think logically about the world. The muscle metaphor persists.
Brain-training games premise their entire application on the idea that one can improve cognition like a muscle, training on irrelevant mental tasks to improve brain strength. Some studies do even suggest that they may work on tests of general reasoning.
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The Cerebellum’s Balancing Act
Next up is the cerebellum. The cerebellum is at the back of the brain, below the cerebrum. It’s a lot smaller than the cerebrum. But it’s a very important part of the brain. It controls balance, movement, and coordination .
Because of your cerebellum, you can stand upright, keep your balance, and move around. Think about a surfer riding the waves on his board. What does he need most to stay balanced? The best surfboard? The coolest wetsuit? Nope he needs his cerebellum!
Is The Brain A Muscle
The brain is an extremely complicated organ in the body. It is responsible for every thought we think, every memory we have, every action we do, and every feeling we experience. It weighs about 1.4 kg and contains a huge number of nerve cellsabout 100 billion neurons. Each of the neurons is interconnected with the other neurons in a complex way so that there are more than a million neuronal connections made every second. We wonder a lot about the brain. This article will help you understand one major question about it.
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Pituitary Gland Controls Growth
The pituitary gland is very small only about the size of a pea! Its job is to produce and release hormones into your body. If your clothes from last year are too small, it’s because your pituitary gland released special hormones that made you grow. This gland is a big player in puberty too. This is the time when boys’ and girls’ bodies go through major changes as they slowly become men and women, all thanks to hormones released by the pituitary gland.
This little gland also plays a role with lots of other hormones, like ones that control the amount of sugars and water in your body.
Brain Stem Keeps You Breathing And More
Another brain part that’s small but mighty is the brain stem. The brain stem sits beneath the cerebrum and in front of the cerebellum. It connects the rest of the brain to the spinal cord, which runs down your neck and back. The brain stem is in charge of all the functions your body needs to stay alive, like breathing air, digesting food, and circulating blood.
Part of the brain stem’s job is to control your involuntary muscles the ones that work automatically, without you even thinking about it. There are involuntary muscles in the heart and stomach, and it’s the brain stem that tells your heart to pump more blood when you’re biking or your stomach to start digesting your lunch. The brain stem also sorts through the millions of messages that the brain and the rest of the body send back and forth. Whew! It’s a big job being the brain’s secretary!
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Were The Jocks Correct
Grow your muscle, grow your brain. For decades its getting clearer physical activity leads to more brain cells. But how? And why?
A recent paper in Cell Metabolism, ably reported by Gretchen Reynolds, shows the advantages of cross-species research. Work with mice, monkeys and humans demonstrated something jocks sensed long ago your legs talk to your brain.
Sometimes they tell it what to do.
Catching Cathepsin B
Many of us grew up thinking the number of brain cells at birth was the most wed ever have. Following that auspicious event, aging wear and tear, divorce, alcohol, even aspirin would leave with less and less brainpan until we emerged addled and confused onto the steps of the financially ruinous nursing home.
Except thats rubbish.
We grow brain cells all the time. In fact, we grow new cells all the time. We completely rebuild and quickly the cells we have. Were basically a continuous remake.
And now we learn that new muscles make new proteins that somehow make the brain grow new cells and get sharper.
The study looked primarily at mice. They are a lot more manipulable than people though observers of present day politics might possess some doubt.
The mice given running wheels as expected showed more brain cells. They were better cognitively. They kept improving.
And they also produced a hive of proteins that popped into the bloodstream going hither and yon. One of them, cathepsin B, looked like it was directly influencing the brain
Muscle and Mind
Is Your Brain A Muscle
No matter what you’re doing, your brain is almost always getting a workout.
School work. House work. Work work. Driving in traffic. Watching TV. Running errands. Playing a board game. Deciding what to eat for dinner. Keeping up with a conversation. Remembering where you parked your car.
You rely on your brain for, well, everything.
You lean on it so much that it’s no surprise that your brain feels like a muscle one you flex throughout the day.
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Smart Strategy: Think Of The Brain As A Muscle
8 February 07
Students who are told they can get smarter if they train their brains to be stronger, like a muscle, do better in school, a new psychology study shows.
Many people have various theories about the nature of intelligence. Some view it as a fixed trait, while others see intelligence as a quality that can develop and expand.
These ideas have can have a profound effect on the motivation to learn, said researcher Carol Dweck, a child and social psychologist at Stanford University.
“Those who follow a fixed theory are concerned with whether they look smart or dumb. They don’t enjoy tasks that are difficult, where if they have a setback they can look dumb,” Dweck explained. “Those who think intelligence is something you can cultivate are much more interested in being challenged than in just looking smart. They are much more resilient and persistent, and not as worried about making mistakes.”
- Mysteries of the Mind
Dweck had an experience in 6th grade in Brooklyn that made her want to understand with views people held on intelligence.
“My teacher seated us around the room in IQ order,” she told LiveScience. “All the responsibilities were assigned to high-IQ students. Looking back, I always enjoyed learning before, but the experience in that class wasn’t about learning, it was about feeling like you had to always look smart or get demoted to one of the lesser seats.”
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More Brain News
Practice Does Not Make Perfect Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
The brain does not interpret what you feed into it it simply translates it. When you are learning to play the piano, the brain doesnt care if you are becoming a great piano player or a terrible piano player. Consequently, if you repeat imperfect fingering, you will become very good at playing imperfectly! Teaching someone to do something well at the start prevents them from developing bad habits, which get solidified in the brain and are subsequently hard to retrain. Effective initial training in the workplace and in school is essential to developing effective, happy employees and students. We do not just train people, we train brains!
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Treat Your Brain Like A Muscle: Exercise It Regularly
Research shows that 90% of Australians need to stress less – with 74% of people reporting being stressed from work. – Lifeline Australia
Tomorrow is Stress Down Day, a Lifeline Australia initiative, and even though our team’s daily focus is on reducing muscle stressing injuries, its crucial that we dont forget about the organ in charge of it all – the brain!
We feel stressed when real or imagined pressures exceed our perceived ability to cope… But feeling stress is not always a bad thing. When stress is short-term and manageable, it motivates and facilitates learning and change. Stress only becomes toxic when its excessive or long-lasting. **
Stress can impact human performance and overall feelings of wellbeing in the short, and long term. It can contribute to other mental health issues, and even cause permanent physical damage to our bodies.
So how do we manage stress?
Its true that the brain is not a muscle. But in many ways, we can treat it like one by exercising it regularly and building beneficial mental health habits that actually stick. There are three distinct habit categories to consider bottom-up, top-down, and outside in .
Something that Matt Griggs, a Sydney-based mindfulness practitioner, said to me once stuck We have a habit of brushing our teeth daily to stop decay, why then, do we not do small things daily to help our minds?
To recap, the brain needs
3. Regular Conditioning