Did You Get you’re 30 minutes of Brain Fitness Today?
Did you know that you can re-wire your brain? It is a fact of neuroscience that we are now able to re-wire our brains. Back in 2000 the now famous re-wiring ferret”experiment proved that the brain is basically tissue just like our muscles and can be developed and adaptive with practice and action for many different purposes. This new idea was called brain plasticity. The core idea was that the brain is adaptable and changes the more it is used. Remember the idea for keeping physically healthy–” move it or lose it” concept. Brain plasticity refers to fact that the brain is adaptive — it self-organizes, meaning that if exercised appropriately it can adapt and change for the better.
This new understanding of the brain, made possible in the 1990’s by the invention of the MRI, is in stark contrast to the prior theory, that each part of the brain has a fixed specialized function. The old theory hypothesized that once these functions are learned, typically at a young age, they are fixed, and pre-determined for life. This theory was called localization and it has been proved wrong.
In fact, not only is the brain plastic and able to change, it is changing constantly. Brain maps, the functionality by region, change constantly depending on individual needs. This is called “competitive plasticity” (or “use it or lose it”), referring to the fact that the brain is constantly dropping connections (knowledge or skills) that are no longer needed or being used, and it will add connections if there are new demands. A story by the NY Times magazine written by Pro Bronson and Ashley Merryman detailed an experiment where a teacher was able to impact math scores by having children read out loud a scientific paper on how the brain is a muscle that will respond to exercise. The knowledge of this opportunity encouraged students to work harder and a new improved trend was established.
But it takes time and practice. The is like a muscle if not used it can lose its power and strength when not exercised. So the question becomes –Do you care for your brain through exercise and activities that stimulate and protect it or do just take the brain for granted? The bad news is that since you were never provided an owner’s manual for your brain, you are probably making lifestyle choices that impair your brain’s performance, or worse, actually damage your brain! The good news is that because your brain is resilient, making healthier lifestyle choices can improve your brain’s health and performance.
Let’s start with the pillar of Physical Exercise, which has a number of positive benefits for your brain including increasing oxygen flow which increases mental sharpness, increasing brain re-wiring which supports the growth of brain cells, increasing the creation of blood vessels in the brain and … see more at Dr. John Medina’s paper on Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work School and Home.
In fact, not only is the brain plastic and able to change, it is changing constantly. Brain maps, the functionality by region, change constantly depending on individual needs. This is called “competitive plasticity” (or “use it or lose it”), referring to the fact that the brain is constantly dropping connections (knowledge or skills) that are seemed to be no longer needed or that are not being challenged, and it will add connections if there are new demands.
Self-Coaching Challenge: What can you do today to increase your brain muscle?