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Get Ahead Kids® Feature Article
Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 5, No. 2 - March/April 2013

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Exercise & Brain Function

By Dorte Bladt D.C.

Would you like your child to perform better in school; to get better grades and concentrate for longer? Really, who wouldn't?

How much would that be worth to you? $20-$50-$100 per week?

What would you be willing to do to get this for your child? Get a tutor, get a computer program, or fight every night to get the hours of homework done? Sweet talk, or speak seriously to the teacher to make sure your child gets what they need?

What if I told you there is a free, easy, fun, family-oriented way for kids to get better at school? Wait - there is more - you also get more energy, lose weight, reduce your family's risk of diabetes, cancer, stroke and heart disease. It also decreases the symptoms of depression, dementia, ADHD and autism.

That sounds fantastic, doesn't it? Give me some of that!

You guessed it: the best way to get your brain and body working is with exercise, movement, physical activity!!!

In a 2001 study of 279,000 Californian 9th graders, it was found that fit kids score twice as well as unfit kids in standard academic tests. The California Department of Education correlated information from a state-wide physical assessment program called FitnessGram, in which kids were measured for aerobic fitness, body fat percentage, abdominal strength and endurance, trunk strength and flexibility, upper body strength and overall flexibility and their performance at standard reading, writing and math tests.

The type of exercise is less important than the daily participation in it. For children over two years old it is recommended to exercise a minimum of one hour per day. Exercise could be: going to the playground, playing tips, walking, running, team sport, swimming, dancing, skating, skiing, surfing, gym, pilates, gross motor activities, cycling and even vacuuming, mopping and cleaning windows. Exercise is anything and everything that increases the heart rate. The one hour can also be broken up into smaller time frames, particularly for little ones.

There are many theories to how exercise works to help cognitive function such as reading and maths:

Exercise increases the blood flow around the body, including to the brain, which results in more oxygen and glucose which the brain needs to function, think and concentrate.

Exercise increases the body's production of a substance called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which helps make new brain cells and to protect the ones you've got, as well as speeding up transmission of messages between nerve cells.

Movement stimulates the pathways in the brain where cognition takes place, so you actually increase your ability to think and concentrate by running or doing other exercise.

90% of stimulation to the brain comes from movement of the spine. If you or your children have misalignments in the spine, those bones will not move properly and there will be a decrease in nerve flow to the brain.

Your chiropractor is a specialist in assessing the health of your spine and nerve system and can detect if there are areas where the vertebrae don't move properly. They can gently and safely remove the misalignment and induce proper movement, ensuring proper function and stimulation of your brain and nerve system. So get your child's spine checked!

Exercise:

  • Fosters neuroplasticity-the capacity of the brain to modify its structure & function as a result of the interaction with the environment
  • Improves information acquisition, processing, association, memory & usage
  • Gets oxygen & glucose to the brain faster to function effectively
  • Strengthens the cardiovascular system
  • Improves mood & elevates stress threshold

About Dorte Bladt

Dorte specialises in posture and spinal health. She checks your spine to assess if the bones, muscles or ligaments are working properly and will gently, safely and naturally correct it to allow the body and the nervous system to function better. Dorte also provides advice on which exercises would be beneficial as well as which position to sleep, stand and sit in for the best possible posture.

More Information

Dorte Bladt
Doctor of Chiropractic
Family Chiropractic Centre Charlestown
2 Lincoln St, Charlestown NSW 2290
P: 02 4942 4842
info@familychiropracticcharlestown.com.au
www.familychiropracticcharlestown.com.au


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