Movement and the Mind

Did you know that movement not only keeps our bodies in shape but also keeps our minds growing as well?

Many people are aware of the role of movement in activating the capacity to learn, to create, to manage stress and health and slow down the aging process. And some of us in the field of movement re-education and development have experienced how particularly integrative movements requiring balance and coordination activates the neural wiring through the body, making the whole body the instrument of learning.

Now scientific research has established a direct link between physical exercise and the adult brain. Dr Fred Gage, a Professor in the Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, has done ground breaking research. “Dr. Gage’s research shows that, contrary to accepted dogma, adult human beings are capable of growing new brain cells, a process called neurogenesis. Ongoing neurogenesis is thought to be an important mechanism underlying neuronal plasticity, enabling organisms to adapt to environmental changes and influencing learning and memory throughout life. Dr. Gage now studies the cellular, molecular, and environmental influences that regulate neurogenesis in the adult brain and spinal cord.” This pioneering research has linked an enriched environment and physical exercise to increased neurogenesis in the adult brain.

The good news is that development is ongoing throughout one’s life. And including more movement in your life increases your capacity to grow new brain cells and influence your learning and memory.