Movement develops brains – even before birth!
Every baby is born with billions of nerve cells. Initially, there are not many connections between these nerve cells but through movement, more and more connections form. Early movement is governed by hundreds of reflexes. Reflexes ensure survival – think of the sucking reflex for example – but reflexes also govern early movements, like lifting the head, rolling, sitting up, crawling and eventually walking. Every baby developmental milestone is accompanied by an explosion of neural development (called neurogenesis) in the brain.
Movement unlocks the neural connections and pathways in the brain!
Communication between nerve cells in the brain is at the root of all we do: movement, emotions, thought, knowledge, memory and all the learning that takes place in a lifetime. Movement continues to be crucial for ongoing brain development and overall mental health.
Whenever muscles engage in movement the brain produces BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). This is essentially fertilizer for brain growth. It leads to more connections along existing neural pathways and the development of whole new neural pathways. This improves all cognitive functions including learning, enhanced memory and improved integration within the components of the central nervous system. The brain has a characteristic called neuroplasticity which means that positive changes in the wiring of the brain are possible through movement, at any age. Emotional regulation comes about as movement strikes the optimal balance between the neurotransmitters (endorphins, dopamine, cortisol, and serotonin) in the brain.
The brain needs the body. The body needs the brain.
The brain is absolutely dependent on the body to make and transport its fuel, oxygen, and glucose so that it can function properly and increase neural connections. Exercise creates the ideal environment for the brain to nourish itself and to grow. It affects the brain right down to the molecules. Exercise helps to grow brain cells, regulate brain chemistry, strengthen the memory and to “fertilize” the brain through the production of essential neurotropic factors. Exercise naturally keeps the brain and body in balance. The body awareness and confidence children gain from high-quality physical education before the age of ten sets them up to thrive mentally, physically and emotionally throughout their lives. This is the time when a child’s brain begins to hardwire neural connections that affect mood and behavior, social skills, intelligence, memory, attention, the ability to cope with stress and the capacity for joy.
Documented improvements in brain function linked to regular movement include:
- Increased learning capacity as the number of neural connections increase
- Improved memory, multi-tasking, attention, decision-making, and learning
- Increased brain organization and integration
- Increased ability to adapt to and learn from new experiences
- Better impulse control and ability to direct and maintain attention
- Reduced stress levels and test anxiety reactions
- Decreased depression
- Improved emotional regulation and mood leading to improved behavior
- Increased self-esteem
- Better sleep patterns leading to restful sleep and increased classroom alertness
- Social skills improve as social, cooperation, communication skills, attention and impulse control improve
- Improved academic performance evident in better reading and math scores, improved comprehension, greater creativity, and problem- solving skills
Fact is intentional movement, physical activity, and rhythmic patterns enhance learning and understanding
MoovKids includes developmentally appropriate movement skills which enhance all the components of the central nervous system: balance, proprioception, differentiation, visual and auditory processing and integration, lateralization and directionality, sequencing, coordination. Enhancing each component improves the underlying perceptual and cognitive
skills needed for optimal classroom performance.