Summer Success: Physical Activity and Brain Performance
By Total Learning Centers
Yes, we all know physical activity is important but did you know if was important for improving attention, focus, concentration, and even mood. Our goal is to increase activity, and the summer months naturally draw more people outside to move more, which is good for both mental and physical health.
In today’s culture and with the current generations, problems arise when summer vacation and good weather isn’t enough to get people outside. Technology and screen time are keeping individuals inside and stationary, both at home and in schools. This can have harmful effects, physically, socially, and emotionally. The question must then be asked, given the convincing research on the benefits of physical activity for academic performance, what can be done to counteract the negative effects of our technology- driven, sedentary-prone culture?
Our very own Dr. Carol Utay put together a great list of guidelines that can help to transform you and your child into more active and well-rounded individuals.Your actions and decisions play a major role in the your brain’s capacity to work its best, so lifestyle changes and positive practices go a long way. These changes, paired with consistent physical activity, will not only improve you or your child’s academic performance, but will also positively impact lives and promote long-term success.
1. Push Your Brain:
Having stimulating thoughts and conversations is not enough. Seek out puzzles or word games instead of technology. Try replacing an hour of technology time with something more challenging to the brain, like drawing or reading a book.
2. Get Enough Sleep:
Sleep gives your brain a chance to heal and grow through properly storing, integrating and making sense out of what was learned and experienced during the day. Getting enough sleep decelerates the death of brain cells, and boosts energy levels to improve the quality of your day.
Doing practically ANY form of exercise enhances all aspects of mental, and physical, health. Physical activity increases oxygen flow to the brain, which leads to improved functioning.
4. Eat Just Enough:
Not over or under eating keeps brain arteries loose leading to increased mental power.
5. Minimize Sugar:
Less sugar enhances absorption of protein and other nutrients causing better nutrition, thus improving brain effectiveness. Try eating more nutrient-rich foods, like fruits, vegetables, and proteins, in order to get more long-lasting energy to face your day.
6. Learn, then Practice Mindfulness:
Relaxed, focused awareness leads to measurable positive changes, emotionally and academically.
*Adapted from a list created by Dr, Carol Utay in article http://www.totallearningcenter.com/top-5-ways-improve-brain-health/