By: Jernavis Draughn

In the book Spark by John Ratey, he explains the benefits of exercising and how it increases our learning ability. Physical fitness has a positive influence on memory, concentration and classroom behavior. Better fitness equals better attention and thus better results. Our brain is constantly being rewired with new information daily. In a study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.

There’s been many studies regarding the positive effects exercising has on the brain. You can start walking, jogging, or even signing up for a fitness class to start this process. Here’s some important facts that stood out to me from the book Spark, by Jack Ratey that provides a simplistic breakdown on how the brain works:

  • The brain has 100 billion cells
  • Serotonin, helps keep brain activity under control. It influences mood, impulsivity, anger and aggressiveness
  • Dopamine, creates happiness and excitement.
  • Norepinephrine, amplifies signals that influence attention, perception, motivation and arousal.
  • Prefrontal Cortex, is the boss of the brain. It controls your planning, judging and predicting.
  • Amygdala, part of the brain that controls what you fear or any intense emotional state or feeling.
  • Hippocampus, provides storage for long term memory. That includes all past knowledge and experiences.

Understanding how the brain works gives us clarity on what part of the brain helps us learn, focus, react and respond. Studies shows exercising and physical activity lowers stress and anxiety. It improves mood and overall psychological health. Exercising keeps the brain from rotting and reverses the cell deterioration associated with aging.

Here’s 3 Ways Exercise Improves Learning:

  1. It optimizes your mindset to improve alertness, attention and motivation.
  2. It prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to one another. Which is the cellular basis for logging in “new information”.
  3. It spurs the development of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus.

Quote of The Day: “Learning never exhausts the mind.” -Leonardo da Vinci

Book recommendation: Spark, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain: By John Ratey



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