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

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Exercise & Memory Training

By Amanda Tocci

Have you ever been introduced to a person only to forget their name two seconds later and end up spending an entire evening calling them love or mate? Or what about going to the grocery store with a list you've remembered of just a few items, to arrive and totally forget what you were meant to buy? Then there's the classic "where did I leave my keys" and wallet or "are the iron and stove off?"

We have all experienced these embarrassing and frustrating situations and worry whether our memory is going or if we've hit that time when rocking chairs under sunlit windows become our new best friends.
Memory is marvellous when it functions smoothly, when names are remembered, when the correct groceries are bought and when you can grab your keys at an instant. However, our memory sometimes fails to deliver or delivers the wrong item, sometimes we are left blank faced and staring off into the abyss, with a... "What was I...?"

Since Olivia Newton John introduced us to brain training, those infatuated with Olivia in a pair of tight black pants in "Grease" have begun to focus not only on exercising their physical selves but on the brain. Unfortunately, Olivia playing a brain training game sitting down on her plush white leather sofa is not the most ideal way to train our memory.

The maintenance of memory requires oxygen through blood supply...yep good ole physical exercise, vitamins and antioxidants...yep, good ole fruit and vegetables and sleep...yep now I'm liking this memory training!

In order to improve our memory capabilities we must move and move quickly. That is, getting off our version of Olivia's plush white leather sofa and moving and eating well.

By exercising that jelly like mass we call a brain we can begin to experience the world with greater confidence knowing that we will be able to find the keys to drive to the supermarket to purchase the groceries with our wallet and know that the iron and stove are off. And maybe, just maybe we may be able to recall the name of the checkout operator who serves us each and every week.

Research has shown that intense aerobic activity actually grows new brain cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is one part of the brain responsible for - you guessed it - memory.
Aerobic exercises may include:

  • Jogging
  • Running
  • Vigorous hiking/walking
  • Basketball
  • Tennis
  • Cross country skiing
  • Cycling
  • High impact aerobics
  • Vigorous push-ups

About Amanda Tocci

Amanda Tocci is a Literacy Specialist and Managing Director of the Australian Literacy Clinic Pty Ltd. Amanda is currently undertaking her PhD in Psychology at Newcastle University, investigating appropriate strategy instruction for children with working memory and reading disabilities. The Australian Literacy Clinic Pty Ltd is a specialist centre located in Maitland and Newcastle, working with families and schools in assessment, planning and intervention for children with reading difficulties.

More Information

Amanda Tocci
Managing Director & Literacy Specialist
Australian Literacy Clinic Pty Ltd.
P: 1300 869 905

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