Schools around the country are cutting back their budgets this year and many great teachers are losing jobs. What subjects are first to go? Physical Education?
Well, a somewhat recent study by Dr. Fred Gage and his colleagues at the Salk Institute in San Diego have successfully proven that exercise increases neurogenesis. What is neurogenesis you ask? Neurogenesis is a process of the human and animal brain in which it produces new brain cells. The study was tested on mice and rats and the results were one-sided. The mice and rats that were allowed to exercise on a spinning wheel performed better hands down than the sedentary mice and rats on several IQ tests (mazes, for example). The results seemed to prove that even a small portion of exercise can make a difference and produce remarkable results.
According to Dr. Fred Gage’s recent findings, the human brain contains adult stem cells that may eventually divide into additional stem cells or baby neurons. As the human brain ages, the stem cells become less responsive and go into a slump or sleep, if you will. This is due to BMP (bone-merphogenetic protein) which is found in tissues throughout the body and affects/hinders cellular development.
The more active the human body is, the less BMP’s affect on the cell division of stem cells. Dr. Gage also stated that there is no reverse affect of exercising too much or too little; any and all exercise seems to produce results in neurogenesis (increased brain cells = improved grades). With that being said, I find it hard to agree with the removal of Physical Education in schools.