How to Get Better Grades with Exercise: Regular Physical Activity Improves Learning and Focus

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "focus person"School is an unnatural environment. The problem with sitting still in a classroom is that physical inactivity shrivels your brain. To keep your grey matter operating optimally, you need to break a sweat. To build your brain, you need to work your body.

According to John J. Ratey, M.D., exercise improves learning in three ways:

  • It helps to improve alertness, attention and motivation
  • It makes it easier for brain cells to bind to one another, which is important for learning
  • It helps create new nerve cells

Dr. Ratey is the author of Spark: the Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. This fascinating book explains how physical activity creates biological changes that make brain cells form connections with each other. For the brain to learn, new connections must be made.

How Brain Cells Work

The brain is made of a hundred billion nerve cells (neurons) that send messages in the form of electrical signals from the brain to the rest of the body. Synapses are the spaces between neurons where messages are carried from one cell to the next by chemicals called neurotransmitters.

Ratey says that when one of these chemicals delivers a signal between two cells that haven’t “spoken” before, it creates a new connection. The more activity between nerve cells, the better the connection and the easier it is for the signal to be passed from one cell to another. It’s just like talking on your cell phone: if you have a strong connection, it’s easy to communicate clearly. If the connection is bad, you might not be able to understand what your BFF is saying.

The research cited by Ratey shows that if there’s a lot of activity between cells, they manufacture more building material for the synapses. This building up of the structure allows new information to stick as a memory. When you learn something new, the memory physically becomes part of your brain because cells change to store that information. The brain is adaptable and can be molded by new experience the way that a muscle can be strengthened by lifting weights.

How Exercise Helps Your Brain

Any movement more complicated than walking has to be learned, and it challenges the brain says Ratey. Repetition of an activity, especially physical activity, causes synapses to make stronger connections. Exercise counts as new experience as far as the brain is concerned. Aerobic activity balances neurotransmitters and other chemicals in the brain, creates new blood vessels that deliver components needed for growth, and creates new cells.

When you do exercise with complex motor movement (like dancing or karate), you’re also building the parts of the brain that organize mental and physical activity. The more complicated the movements, the better the connections. “Even though these circuits are created through movement, they can be recruited by other areas and used for thinking,” states Ratey in his chapter entitled Learning.

Fit Kids are Smart Kids

Experts recommend that kids at school participate in at least one hour of physical activity every day because it improves memory, concentration, and processing speed. An experiment at an American high school showed that students in literacy classes held immediately following PE class consistently performed better than those in the same classes held later in the day.

The California Department of Education found that students with higher fitness scores also have higher test scores. kids who passed minimum fitness requirements in six areas (including measures of strength, flexibility, endurance and body fat) scored, on average, twice as well on academic tests as their unfit peers.

You can manage your brain with exercise. If you’re stressed out because you have tests coming up, your ability to focus and study well will be reduced. Exercise reduces stress while at the same time increasing your brain’s ability to learn and remember new material.

So how can you harness the power of exercise to improve your grades? If possible, schedule PE classes right before your most difficult subjects. When you get home from school, take a brisk walk or a swim before settling in to do your homework. Instead of studying all night before a big exam, get a good night’s rest (sleep also enhances learning!), then go for a jog just before your test.

Physical activity has the power to transform the mind as well as the body. Aside from all of the physical benefits, exercise helps you manage anxiety and improve your ability to concentrate and learn. So what are you waiting for? Get moving!

Cheap Ways to Get Exercise

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "Exercise"We are constantly being bombarded with ads about the latest fitness equipment that’s supposed to make exercise a breeze. They all promise to “melt off pounds” and “transform your body” in little time and less effort, and all they cost are several installments of an arm, a leg or your first born. But the truth is you don’t need expensive contraptions to get the activity your body needs, or even the intense workout you may want. No matter what your fitness level is, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to stay in shape.

Lighter every day activities

It’s important to maintain good health by getting a little activity in every day. Even if you’re not a exercise junkie, making sure your body gets the regular movement it needs is vital to keeping good health. Sticking with it can get tricky if you don’t get creative and mix it up.

  • Walking is an obvious one and it works for everyone. Whether you’re walking to music, walking with friends, walking your dog or walking for transportation, there’s no doubt it’s one of the best activities out there, no costly equipment required.
  • Dancing! No, you don’t have to be good at it. Do it in the privacy of your own home with your favorite music playing. This can even be done between or during other stuff you have to get done like laundry and cooking. Just get your body moving for ten or more minutes; you can really get into it and work up a sweat.
  • Playing catch at the park with friends and a frisbee can really burn calories. A 150lb person can burn just over a hundred calories doing this for just 30 min. according to ProHealth.com’s calorie calculator . If you are counting calories it’s easy to keep track of the number of calories you’re burning by entering your own information and selecting an activity and how long you did it.
  • Helping a friend watch her kids — this is obviously if you don’t have any of your own to watch. If you do you know they can be a serious workout.
  • Do some yardwork or gardening. You’ll be helping you and your house look great.

More serious workouts

You can still get high octane workouts without shelling out major dough.

  • Local Libraries have tapes and dvds of different workouts to do at home for different levels of fitness. They even have books with workouts you read and then try in all varieties such as pilates, yoga, and almost anything.
  • The internet is a treasure trove for different workouts. Good Housekeeping’s website lists several according to what results you’re looking for and how much time you have to do it in.
  • The TV is also a good source of workout material. If you have On Demand it’s easy to find workouts there, or check out Lifetime and workout with Denise Austin. TV Guide or your favorite internet search engine can give you show times and channels.
  • Stairs near your house or in your house provide great cardio. You never realize how intense a workout stairs can be till you go up and down them several times.
  • Jump roping is a huge calorie burner and jump ropes are not expensive.
  • Circuit workouts are some of the most intense out there. An example would be to do cardio, like jumping rope, for a set amount of time, immediately move to strength training like push-ups, back to cardio like jumping jacks, back to strength like squats and so forth. You can do each a minute or two minutes. Come up with your own and keep it creative so you don’t get bored.

If you feel like you do need impressive equipment to get the best workout go check out some yardsales. Chances are when it comes to used workout machines they’re usually in pretty good shape and mostly just collected dust in the owner’s home. Or play equipment swap with a friend and use each others.

If you want to use a gym see if some one you know with a membership will let you tag along.

Besides saving money, changing it up and keeping things interesting means these good habits you’re making are more likely to stick. And when it comes to ideas, this is just the tip of the iceberg. For more ideas about cheap and interesting workouts do your own search online, in libraries or in magazines. You might be surprised and hey, you’ll be getting activity already.

The Science Behind Rebound Exercise

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "Rebound Exercise"As with most forms of exercise, there is a scientific explanation behind the actions and health benefits of rebound exercise. It involves acceleration, deceleration and gravity. These three natural forces work together for a total body workout. Most exercises are horizontal, such as walking and jogging. Rebounding takes that energy and makes it vertical, which enables the benefits of gravity (G forces) to be incorporated for a greater positive impact on the body. The entire body is subjected to the forces of acceleration, deceleration and gravity.

Acceleration and Deceleration During Rebound Exercise

As we bounce upward our speed increases; we accelerate. When accelerating vertically, whether in a rocket ship or on a trampoline, we develop a greater G force.

At the bottom of a bounce we decelerate — our entire body stops. The vertical acceleration and deceleration combined with gravity increases the G forces felt in every cell in the body. When the body comes down and stops, for that split second the body experiences the combined effects of deceleration and gravity, and the body reacts as though someone has turned up the gravitational pull of the Earth. All this happens simultaneously at the bottom of a bounce.

Acceleration and deceleration, when lined up vertically, create the perfect opposition to gravity.

G-Force Changes During Rebound Exercise

When G forces are low, cells become weak. Cells become stronger when G forces are high. The cells in our body adjust to these changes in our environment by become individually stronger. In essence, the body can adjust to an environment of greater G force than the normal G force experienced by everyone else every day. Albert Carter details this affect on our body perfectly in The New Miracles of Rebound Exercise:

“At the bottom of the bounce, every cell in your body identifies the combination of the three forces simply as an increase in the gravitational pull of the earth, much the same way they would react if they experienced your living on a larger plant than the earth with a greater G force. This happens a hundred times a minute. At the top of the bounce, as gravity counteracts the combined forces of the change in velocity, you become weightless for a fraction of a second a hundred times a minute. All cells of your body immediately become weightless. Virtually all immediate structural stresses and pressure are eliminated from all of your cells all at once. Your cells depend upon the diffusion of water through their semi-permeable cell membranes to carry oxygen, nutrients, hormones, enzymes into the cell, and to flush out metabolic trash. The rate of diffusion of water into and out of the cells under normal conditions is 100 times the volume of fluid inside each cell each second. The oscillation of the cells of your body between an increase in G force and a no G force 200 times a minute increases the diffusion of water into each cell at least three fold! Nothing beats that kind of cellular cleansing.” (Carter)

Gravity’s Influence on the Body During Rebound Exercise

Gravity itself exerts influence on every cell in the body in two ways:

  1. It exerts a direct gravitational pull on each individual cell in the body.
  2. And atmospheric pressure in the human body occurs from all directions.

Because gravity is constantly trying to pull us down, our bodies must develop the strength to oppose the force of gravity. When we oppose the force of gravity we become strong. We have anti-gravity muscles that are strengthened by proper, vigorous exercise.

When G forces are low, cells become weak. Cells become much stronger when G forces are strong.

An Amish gentleman in one of Albert Carter’s seminar audiences sums it up this way: “… we have three natural forces available to us at no cost that we should use exercise effectively, but we haven’t been harnessing them right.”

How to Effectively Use Rebound Exercise

All this science is fascinating, but if means nothing if we don’t put it to work. Rebound exercise is a fun, diverse activity to add to your fitness program. There are a variety of steps and moves that will make your workout anything but boring. Rebounding provides some surprising health benefits, especially because it affects the human body at a cellular level. Anyone can benefit from rebound exercise, even the elderly, handicapped, sick or disabled. Be aware of what to look for when purchasing a rebounder to be sure you’re getting stable, reliable, long-lasting equipment.

The Intelligent Person’s Guide to Exercise Motivation

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "Exercise Motivation"If you are reading this now, I know you have enough wisdom to do as Stephen Covey suggests in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (1989), “Begin with the end in mind”. The documentation is conclusive: almost all forms of exercise and exercise routines work and they also fail. The difference between success and failure is always found at the level of motivation. So, before you slip on those Nikes, new gym outfit, buy a gym membership or an exercise machine, you should take some time to condition your motivation muscle.

Basics of Human Motivation

Anthony Robbins in his classic Personal Power II: the Driving Force! (1996) stated that people are motivated by only two things: (1) the desire to gain pleasure and (2) the need to avoid pain. Think for a moment if there is anything else that motivates human behavior. Once you accept this pain/pleasure theory of motivation, you are ready to learn how to use these principles to your advantage not just in exercise, but in all parts of your life.

You have had the thought of improving your life through exercise as evidenced by the fact that you are currently reading this article. You have the insight to understand that the success of your exercise program will be predicated on your level of motivation, but you do have the impetus to sustain the results you want? Sadly, historical evidence would indicate that you probably don’t.

Gym business models are based on the 80/20 principle. Only 20 percent of the people that sign a contract actually use the gym on a regular basis. The cold, hard mathematics of business demonstrate that a gym can only accommodate 20 percent usage. Fortunately for gym owners, a much lower level of motivation is required to buy a membership than to use it. You can find more about this principle by reading Richard Koch’s 80/20 Principle (1998). This law is even more dramatic with regard to buying home gyms. If you don’t believe the veracity of that statement, take a moment to peruse Craigslist or scan your local want ad publication to see how many barely used home gyms are for sale at a fraction of their original price. These facts should not depress you, but impress upon you the importance of the next section.

The motivation formula:

  • Thought
  • Imagination
  • Faith
  • Desire

Thoughts grow in the fertile soil of your imagination by using end results imagery. A.M. Krasner in his book The Wizard Within (1991) explains end results imagery as the process by which your mind links massive amounts of pleasure to obtaining your goals and massive amounts of pain to failure to obtain them. Take out a pen and some paper and write all the pleasure you will receive when you achieve your goals. Ask yourself the following questions. How will I feel? How will I look? How will other people see me? Imagine your sex life once you are your ideal weight with your brand new fit body. Write in as much detail as possible, add emotion and really visualize yourself as you want to be. Create a vision and daily hold it in your mind’s eye.

Faith is knowing that you absolutely will achieve your desires and it is built in small increments. When you start to work out, you will begin to achieve small goals. Perhaps, you will lift 5 more pounds than last week, or lose an additional pound this week. You know since you accomplished these objectives this week, you can be successful next week and the week after until you reach your ultimate goal. Here are some very powerful tools for building faith:

  1. use of affirmations
  2. self hypnosis
  3. the power of questions
  4. the power of pretend

Such noted writers as Norman Vincent Peal, Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie have much to say about building faith through affirmations, the power of questions and the power of pretend. Dr. Rachel Copeland’s book How to Hypnotize Yourself and Others (1976) will give you all the information you need to begin to use self-hypnosis effectively.

The mixture of imagination and faith creates desire. Desire is the strongest of thoughts and is absolutely essential to maintaining a successful workout program over time. A desire is so vivid and compelling that you absolutely know that it must come to pass. A desire is charged with emotion and it is an unstoppable force. My belief is that you will use the information given as a starting point to create the results you have dared to dream.

Excessive Intake of Vitamin A

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "Vitamin A"Hypervitaminosis is the result of excessive intake of a vitamin, and this especially applies to fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Vitamin A stores in the human liver, and it is not necessary for a person to consume it each day.

Vitamin A occurs in two forms. One form is retinol or preformed vitamin A, which is almost ready for the body to use after its absorption from the gastrointestinal tract. Humans obtain retinol or preformed vitamin A from animal sources such as liver, eggs, milk, some fortified food products, margarine, cheese, and certain other foods. The other form of the vitamin is available as beta carotene, which one can consume from colorful fruits and vegetables. The preformed vitamin A from animal sources is the one that may lead to toxicity as it stores in the liver.

The liver stores serve an important role because when vitamin A intake or levels of it decline in the other tissues, mobilization of the vitamin liver stores occurs so that it becomes available for the rest of the body.

Beta carotene may not pose any risk for toxicity because it undergoes conversion to preformed vitamin A in the small intestine. Excessive or unnecessary intake of preformed vitamin A supplementation, on the other hand, can lead to excessive stores of the vitamin in the liver.

Prevention of cancer

Vitamin A is an antioxidant, and these compounds help to slow or prevent cell damage. This discovery has led many to believe that supplementation with vitamin A, and other nutrients, will prevent cancer or enable one to live longer than they would without the supplement. Though several clinical studies have taken place to examine these contentions, there is no definitive evidence that vitamin A prevents cancer or prolongs life.

In fact, vitamin A supplementation may predispose a person to the development of cancer, and this has been observed in clinical trials with smokers. Hence, people who smoke should not take vitamin A supplements as there is an even greater risk of lung cancer in these patients.

Pregnant women require vitamin supplementation so that the mother and fetus will have an adequate supply of various nutrients. However, it is important that she take the proper prenatal vitamin which her physician recommends. Specifically, she should never take a vitamin supplement during pregnancy which contains retinol or preformed vitamin A as it can lead to birth defects in the child. Prenatal supplements with beta carotene are a reasonable choice for these patients.

Very high doses of vitamin A may cause irregular menstrual periods, liver damage, osteoporosis, hair loss, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, poor muscle coordination, itching and scaling of the skin, and bone pain. It may also cause problems with the central nervous system, reduction of bone mineral density, and predisposition to bone fracture.

Although vitamin D has a role in the preservation of bone, hypervitaminosis A appears to interfere with that, and this may be the reason for the fractures.

Skin creams

Excessive intake of vitamin A can also pose a problem with skin creams and other topical preparations which contain vitamin A. These therapeutic creams and ointments are synthetic retinoids and are similar in their chemical structure to vitamin A. Babies and children are especially sensitive to the vitamin A in skin creams, and doses much less than what an adult takes may pose a problem for them.

In children and teens, synthetic retinoid skin therapies may cause delay in growth. One must also keep in mind that synthetic retinoid skin creams to treat acne and psoriasis may become toxic in high doses. Sexually active women of childbearing age who take topical synthetic retinoids for skin conditions should obtain birth control as the use of these agents during pregnancy can harm the fetus and cause birth defects.

Elderly people who take vitamin A supplements should use the beta carotene preparation and consume foods fortified with vitamin A. The preformed vitamin A supplement is not advisable for them because their blood levels of retinol increase with age, and they may have more risk of toxicity from it than younger individuals who take vitamin A supplementation.

The sale and distribution of vitamin supplements in the United States does not require approval from the Food and Drug Administration, and one will not really know how safe these agents are. Moreover, the United States Institute of Medicine does not recommend vitamin A supplementation for the general public. For those who take supplements, the Institute of Medicine recommends that a person not exceed 10,000 international units of retinol per day.