Sunday, November 6, 2011

Home Schooling - Part 1 of a 12 Part Book Review - Brain Rules - Rule 1


Song:  Mystic Forest

From:  Final Fantasy VI (new version)


I am reading a fantastic book called:

Brain Rules - 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School.
(a New York Times Bestseller)

Author:  John Medina



Available through Amazon for around $10.00 in paperback
(also available in hardcover or as an E-book at differing prices).

I shall be presenting one rule an article, as I think each rule
has such merit and relevancy to parents and to their children...
that to do the book justice...
I must give greater detail to each rule by devoting an entire article to each.

Included in each of his chapters (each rule)...
he includes a chapter synopsis.

I shall be giving you this almost verbatim from the book as a conclusion to my
review of his article.

I shall then show how we apply them in our raising of Alex so 
you may see a plausible route to achieving the same thing with 
your children.

Even should you not do the same thing...
you will be able to find your own path to fulfilling the principles
by understanding the underlying concepts.

For those who can get the book in their country...
and certainly for those in America...
I recommend getting the book.

Many of the principles...
although you will see them as common sense...
you may be surprised to learn that each is based upon scientific evidence.


RULE 1:  EXERCISE

The author goes into how the body had spent many tens of thousands
of years adapting to the rigors of a physical life...
 exercise normally gotten in daily life.

In the chapter, he goes on to ask, and answer, 6 basic questions that 
researchers had devoted much time in an attempt to discover a causal relationship...
between exercise and mental acuity.


1)  Is there one factor that predicts how well you will age?


The answer is one of common sense...
it is the presence or absence of a sedentary lifestyle.

There are, of course, many other factors.
However, the over riding factor in the ability to reach ones
genetic potential, both in quantity and quality of life...
physically... is exercise...
both aerobically (stamina and endurance) and anaerobically (strength)
(although stamina training is technically in the anaerobic category...
in training for stamina...you greatly increase your aerobic threshold).

The researchers had seen a relationship among active seniors
and their enhanced cognitive acuity in reference to their
non active peers.

This led them to their second question...



2)  Were they? 
 (was there a connection from exercise to mental acuity?)


It turns out that time and again...
they had found those who had remained active throughout life...
had consistently outperformed non active seniors in almost all categories
of cognitive performance...sometimes to an astonishing degree.

It seems that exercise improves almost every prized cognitive ability
in everything from the classroom to the boardroom.  

They still had to research further to establish a causal connection.

This leads us to question 3...



3)  Could you improve the mental acuity of a non active person through exercise?



Read carefully what the researchers had found...

They had consistently found that by putting former couch potatoes
 on an aerobic exercise program...
positive results were observed in as little as a few months.

In school age children...
after being placed on a 30 minute jogging program...
2 - 3 times a week (in 3 months time)...
they had improved their cognitive capabilities significantly
over their pre-jogging levels.

They also again retested these same children after taking them off 
the exercise program.

Their previously enhanced cognitive scores had plummeted to
their pre-jogging levels.

They had established a causal connection from exercise to cognitive enhancement.

Now, does this mean that the more you exercise...
the greater you shall get?

No...what it means is that being in top shape will allow one to
operate at their optimum level as determined by genetics and 
the amount of intellectual stimuli received
(as far as nature and nurture will allow).



4)  What's the bad news?
(at what cost to improve cognitive function...
how much effort and using which type of exercises)


Through research...
a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic activity 2-3 times a week
produced enhanced effects.

Adding strength training enhanced the effects further.

So...is this bad news?

Only to the new initiates to exercise...
I am sure there will be great reluctance at first.

However, as I shall explain later on...
through a basic program...
not only is life enhanced greatly...
it becomes a passion as a person develops a 
positive addiction to the effects realized.

If exercise is so good for cognitive function...
could it actually treat those of whom suffer a cognitive disfunction?

It turns out that not only is the answer a definitive yes...
it is a yes for both...
prevention and treatment.


5)  Can exercise treat brain disorders?

A positive effect can be clearly seen among those of typical cognitive performance.

What of those with atypical cognitive performance?
(such as in age related Dementia / Alzheimer's / Depression)

Researchers had looked at thousands of people from experiments
reproduced from around the world over decades.

They have concluded that your lifetime risk for age related dementia
is cut in half and the risk for Alzheimer's is cut by 60%.

They found the key was regular Aerobic exercise.

Minimum twice weekly (30 min each).

A daily 20-30 minute walk cut stroke risk by 57%
(a known cause for some forms of dementia).

For Depression as well as Anxiety...
they found beneficial results immediately and for the long term.


6)  Are the cognitive blessings of exercise only for the elderly?

As shown with school children...clearly not.

A noted scientist had done some specific research with children
showing a clear correlation of regular exercise in children and improved...

processing speed of visual stimuli...
 concentration for longer periods of time...
 self esteem...

all the while inhibiting the factors which detract from academic performance...
such as...
depression...
anxiety...
overactive and disruptive behavior.


The author's summary for rule #1:

Exercise boosts brain power.

Our brains were built for walking 12 miles a day
(his stressing of the adaptation of humans to daily activity of old).

To improve your thinking skills...move.

Exercise gets blood to the brain, bringing it Glucose for energy
and Oxygen to soak up the toxic electrons that are left over.  
It also stimulates the protein that keeps neurons connecting.

Aerobic exercise just twice a week halves your risk of general dementia.
It cuts your risk of Alzheimer's by 60 percent.


I have long known the great benefits of exercise upon the...

Body...
Emotions...
Intellect.


Below is a link to another article I had written about 
endurance exercise and children and a general layout 
of Alex's exercise regimen.



For a basic strength program for children (Alex's):



For an almost complete exercise program that gives
so much in almost all aspects of life...
for children in particular...
Martial Arts is a good choice:



In the following link to an article of mine in which
I cover a very minimalist exercise regimen for those who hate 
exercise...yet wish to reap the greatly positive benefits of it...



With all of the positive benefits for the
body, mind, and emotions...
and no detractors...
exercise cannot be ignored as a way of maximizing your child's
capabilities in all aspects.

There is simply nothing mystical about exercise.

Alex has greatly benefited from exercising regularly.

Your child shall also.

I have given many ways in which it can be done easily...
even minimally.

Find a way for your child to enjoy it enough to partake in exercise
on an almost daily basis.

It is THAT important to your child's life.



2 comments:

  1. I'm a great believer in exercise, though I have more work to do to instill that attitude in my son.

    This book sounds great... actually, it sounds like something you would write!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you. Exercise has done wonders for both, Alex, and I. It has dramatically helped us in almost all aspects of our lives.

    ReplyDelete

Please feel free to comment on this article.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...