“What’s the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today?” While going to classes is important and learning the skills necessary to succeed in life are key, it is not the only answer. Wendy Suzuki, a neuroscientist, centers her research on the brain around this essential question.
Throughout her research, and presented in a recent Ted Talk (seen below), she has come to believe that exercise is most important. Exercise allows you to have a better mood, to have better energy, to have better memory, and to have better attention. All lead to improved learning both in a classroom setting and in the real world. Exercise transforms the brain, and it also may help you to live longer.
How much exercise is required to improve memory? According to an article highlighted in Harvard Health Publishing, “standard recommendations advise half an hour of moderate physical activity most days of the week, or 150 minutes a week. If that seems daunting, start with a few minutes a day, and increase the amount you exercise by five or 10 minutes every week until you reach your goal. If you don’t want to walk, consider other moderate-intensity exercises, such as swimming, stair climbing, tennis, squash, or dancing. Don’t forget that household activities can count as well, such as intense floor mopping, raking leaves, or anything that gets your heart pumping so much that you break out in a light sweat.”
So what does this mean for middlers? Encourage them to get outside and play in the yard, to swim, to run, to ride a bike, to join an athletics team at MA, to dance, to walk or to do household chores such as shoveling snow or doing some yard work. It will have long-term and short-term benefits both in the classroom and beyond.