Sent: 02-03-2010 10:49:04
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Brain Rules - part 2
This series is looking at the work of Dr John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and research consultant. Through my membership of the CFA Society I also have access to something called also 'get abstract' which provides comprehensive summaries of a number of publications, including this particular book. The following is based upon several articles and abstracts to explain the 12 rules that Dr John Medina has come up with:
1. "Exercise" - Your Brain Slows Down When You Sit Still
Physical activity is vital to keep your body and mind working in tip-top shape. Anthropologists note that the first humans roamed in search of food, covering dozens of miles a day, so their brains evolved to handle regular physical activity. Because human brains "were forged in the furnace of physical activity," if you want to use your entire IQ you must exercise. Inactive couch potatoes lose mental facilities along with physical capabilities. To regain your mental abilities, get aerobic exercise, even if you have neglected yourself. Just walking half an hour a few times a week will boost your cognitive output and reduce your risk of dementia.
- As there is a direct link between exercise and brain power you should start exercising. Our brains perform at their best when we are in motion.
- Exercise improves "executive function": solving problems, maintaining attention, and inhibiting emotional impulses. All it takes for your brain to benefit is aerobic exercise 2-3 times a week.
- Sitting is not "brain friendly." We think best when we are moving.
- The greatest predictor of successful aging is the presence or absence of a sedentary lifestyle.
- Exercise improves cardiovascular fitness, which reduces the risk for diseases like heart attacks and stroke. It improves your strength and balance, reduces your risk for many types of cancer, bolsters your immune system, and buffers against toxic effects of stress.
- Take a call while walking, hold a walking meeting, or go for a walk at lunch.
2. "Survival" - Your Brain Is an Evolutionary Triumph
The human species is weak, but brainpower helped people survive and thrive. Humans have a great capacity to adapt. Over thousands of years, thanks to their powerful brains, people adjusted to changes in climate and food supply, and came to dominate the planet. Their advanced brains also allow them to "read" each other and negotiate. Your brain's memory is an informational "database," and you use mental "software" to improvise and solve problems. You may perform best with encouragement and be unable to perform as well near someone who threatens you.
What you do and learn in life physically changes what your brain looks like, it literally rewires it.
The various regions of the brain develop at different rates in different people. No two people's brains store the same information in the same way in the same place. We have a great number of ways of being intelligent, many of which don't show up on IQ tests.
- The brain is a survival organ. It is designed to solve problems related to surviving in an unstable outdoor environment and to do so in nearly constant motion. T
- The strongest brains survive, not the strongest bodies. Our ability to solve problems, learn from mistakes, and create alliances with other people helps us survive. We took over the world by learning to cooperate and forming teams with our neighbors.
- Our ability to understand each other is our chief survival tool. Relationships helped us survive in the jungle and are critical to surviving at work and school today.
- If someone does not feel safe with a teacher or boss, he or she may not perform as well.
More next time.
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