Brain Training: Brain and Body Workouts » The Science to Support it

The Science to Support it

Aerobic Exercise 

  • Aerobic exercise increases the blood flow through the prefrontal cortex stimulating the growth of more blood vessels allowing it to function more effectively. 

  • The prefrontal cortex is where executive function takes place. Executive function is a set of cognitive processes that allow us to efficiently perform the skills listed below. 

  1. Planning 

  2. Organization 

  3. Time management 

  4. Initiate or delay responses

  5. Consequence /Evaluation 

  6. Problem solving 

  7. Maintain focus 

  8. Working memory 

  • Aerobic exercise increases the levels of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) in the Hippocampus (The main learning center of the brain). 

  • (BDNF) is the mother of all growth factors that are produced when doing aerobic exercise. It is like Miracle Grow for the brain! 

  • The Growth Factors (proteins) as a team give the synapses the tools they need to take in information, process it, associate it, remember it and put it into context. 

Sensory Integration/Sensorimotor Activity 

  • Sensory integration is the process that occurs in the central nervous system which involves receiving sensory information and turning it into appropriate functional responses. 

  • There are eight senses: Olfaction (smell), Gustation (taste), Audition (hearing), Somatosensory (touch), Vision (sight), Vestibular (Moving Balance), Proprioception (cognitive motor planning/body space awareness), Interoception (internal awareness).

  • Everything we learn is received and integrated through our sensory neurons. When our neurological response to sensory input is effective our brains begin to process in a well-organized, integrated manner allowing us to better focus, behave appropriately and learn effectively. 

  • Sensory integration activities promote communication between sensory neurons located in the prefrontal cortex, the left and right hemisphere and the motor cortex. 

  • With repetition, these neurons will build stronger connections and begin to communicate more efficiently which allows the prefrontal cortex to integrate sensory input more efficiently. 

Cross-Lateral Movement – Crossing the midline of the body both physically and visually

  • Functional Disconnection Syndrome is a condition where there is a functional breakdown in the neurological pathways of the body causing the brain and its neural network to lack the needed connection between hemispheres to function effectively. 

  • Cross-lateral movement activities force both hemispheres to work together at the same time and connect neurons so they can communicate more efficiently. 

  • Continued repetition of cross-lateral exercises strengthens those connections so that the signal between the neurons becomes stronger! The stronger they are the more efficiently they communicate. 

  • Because learning takes place in numerous parts of the brain it is important that these lines of communication are efficient! 

  • Neurons that fire together - wire together. Like social networking, introducing and making neurons communicate through enhanced physical activity will result in multiple connections to increase the effectiveness of neural processing.