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Brain Function and Exercise

At Brain Balance Achievement Centers, we've long contended that the brain has the ability to change and improve throughout a person's lifetime, particularly when exposed to consistent, targeted exercise and engaging stimuli. This phenomenon, called neuroplasticity, provides the basis of the Brain Balance Program, which includes individualized sensory-motor and cognitive activity plans in addition to dietary guidelines for kids with neuro-developmental disorders. A recent article from ADDitude, an online magazine for people with Attention Deficit Disorder, explains in detail the connection between exercise and the brain's ability to create new cells and "smart chemicals" that help them learn. Enjoy an excerpt below or click here for the full article.

"Exercise improves learning on three levels: It optimizes your mindset, by improving alertness, attention, and motivation. It prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to one another, which is the cellular basis for learning new information. And it spurs the development of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus, an area of the brain related to memory and learning.

Several progressive schools have experimented with exercise to find out if working out before class boosts a child’s reading ability and her performance in other subjects. Guess what? It does.

We know now that the brain is flexible, or plastic, in the parlance of neuroscientists -- more Play-Doh than porcelain. It is an adaptable organ that can be molded by input in much the same way as a muscle can be sculpted by lifting barbells. The more you use it, the stronger and more flexible it becomes...

For the better part of the twentieth century, scientific dogma held that the brain was hardwired once it was fully developed in adolescence -- meaning we’re born with all the neurons we’re going to get. We can only lose neurons as life goes on.

Guess what? Neurons do grow back -- by the thousands -- through a process called neurogenesis. They divide and propagate like cells in the rest of the body. Neurons are born as blank-slate stem cells, and they go through a developmental process in which they need to find something to do in order to survive. Most of them don’t. It takes about 28 days for a fledgling cell to plug into a network. If we don’t use the newborn neurons, we lose them. Exercise spawns neurons, and the environmental enrichment helps those cells survive."

We encourage you to enjoy the rest of this article from ADDitude Magazine to learn even more about how regular exercise and stimulation improve brain function at the most basic level. At Brain Balance, our customized exercise and activity plans stimulate areas of weakness in the brain and encourage new neural connections, which improves function and reduces or eliminates symptoms of neuro-developmental disorders in children. We work with kids you have symptoms of ADD, ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, and learning disorders like Dyslexia. Contact us today to learn more!

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