(AV17930) Exercise for Success in School and Career

(AV17930) Exercise for Success in School and Career


good evening everyone great crowd
tonight my name is Phil Martin I’m the chair of the department of kinesiology
and I’m pleased to welcome our departments annual peace family scholar
lecture clearly the p’s lecture is one of the major highlights for our
department each year this is the 18th year of the lecture series and we’ve had
21 guest speakers during that period of time we’re here tonight because of the
generosity of Dean and Sally peas and their lasting commitment to the
department and to Iowa State University professor Dean Pease was a longtime
faculty member in our department and he was the department chair from 1987 until
1990 prior to his untimely death in 1994 Dean
and Sally established an endowment fund in memory of Dean’s parents Dean and
Sally chose to direct a portion of his parents charitable trust to three
specific programs to benefit students and faculty at Iowa State and perpetuity
the greatest portion of the peas contribution was used to create a
scholar and residence program for the department the annual earnings from this
endowment allow the department to bring a leading scholar to campus to interact
with faculty and students and of course for this public lecture the piece family
scholar lecture I’m very pleased to introduce this year’s Pease family
scholar dr. Adele diamond is a Canada Research Chair tier 1 professor of
developmental cognitive psychology the head of the program in developmental
cognitive psych neuroscience and a member of the brain Research Center the
human early learning partnership and the neuroscience and cognitive science
programs at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver dr. diamond has a
stellar set of academic credentials that set the foundation for her highly
interdisciplinary research interests and expertise she received her BA from
Swarthmore in psychology and sociology and anthropology
she earned her PhD from Harvard in developmental psychology and then
completed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship and neuroanatomy at the Yale
School of Medicine prior to moving to the University of British Columbia dr.
diamond held faculty appointments at MIT Harvard and Yale professor diamond and
her colleagues integrate developmental cognitive science neuroscience and
molecular genetic methods to study the part of our brain the prefrontal cortex
that controls core mental processes and complex cognitive abilities that are
crucial for problem-solving negotiation creativity and reasoning and for success
in all of life’s aspects most recently professor diamond has turned her
attention to the possible rolls of music dance storytelling and physical activity
in improving executive functions academic outcomes and mental health
dr. diamonds research has received substantial and consistent external
governmental support since she was a graduate student she’s given many
invited presentations throughout the world to audiences as diverse as
neurologists educators lawyers psychoanalysts geneticists parents and
the Dalai Lama in 2009 alone she was invited to speak in Australia Brazil the
United Kingdom Bulgaria India Russia Spain and throughout North America
her work has appeared in top journals such as science and has been highlighted
in TV programs documentaries radio programs textbooks newspapers and
magazines in fact today I think she had two interviews with news media
individuals she’s been the recipient of numerous awards and honors she’s a
fellow in the Royal Society of Canada the American Psychological Association
in both developmental psychology and behavioral neuroscience
and of the American Association for psychological science she was named one
of the 2000 outstanding women of the 20th century a distinguished scientific
lecture by the American Psychological Association and a Woman of Distinction
by the YWCA I could continue to highlight dr. Diamonds many
accomplishments for considerable amount of time suffice it to say that dr.
diamond is highly accomplished and well recognized as one of the world’s leading
scholars in developmental cognitive psychology it’s my great pleasure to
introduce dr. Adele diamond is the 2012-13 peas family scholar the title of
her presentation tonight is benefits of exercise for success in school and
career how important are the social emotional and cognitive aspects of
physical activity for these benefits please help me welcome dr. diamond it’s hard to follow an introduction like
that thank you very much okay evidence shows the physical
activity especially aerobic exercise robustly improves cognition and brain
function and in particular the frontal lobe and executive functions that depend
on the frontal lobe and they show the largest benefit from improved fitness
the positive effects of aerobic physical activity on cognition and brain function
are evident at the molecular cellular systems and behavioral levels and that’s
from a review done in 2008 there have been several reviews since then for
example exercise brain and cognition across the lifespan and the reviews
continue to affirm the same conclusions they just give more mechanisms for how
this is happening though many studies have found aerobic exercise improves
prefrontal cortex function and executive functions all but three of those studies
have either been done with adults or examined the effects of a single bout of
aerobic exercise where benefits may be transient in general the studies with
children have not found the same strong benefits from aerobic exercise exercise
alone appears not to be as effective in improving executive functions at least
in children as exercise plus character development for example traditional
martial arts or exercise plus mindfulness for example Yoga traditional
martial arts emphasize self-control discipline and character development so
traditional martial arts teach that you should show respect that you should be
humble that you need to exercise the self-control to wait until you have the
opportunity to do something to your advantage don’t immediately go on the
attack wait for the other person to give you an
opportunity to be slightly or balance and then you go in perhaps the
other person was about to attack you and now is slightly off balance and then you
go in and take advantage of that so you need to exercise self-control inhibition
so that you wait in a study with adolescent juvenile delinquents one
group was assigned to traditional Taekwondo emphasizing qualities such as
respect humility responsibility perseverance and emphasizing the
character development as much as the physical conditioning oh and of course
emphasizing that you wait just like I mentioned the other group was assigned
to modern martial arts which was all about the physical nothing about
character development just about the physical activity and just go in an
attack you don’t have to wait those in traditional Taekwondo showed less
aggression and anxiety and improved in social ability and self-esteem but those
in modern martial arts showed more juvenile delinquency and aggressiveness
and decreased self-esteem and social ability so I’ve been talking a little
bit about executive functions I thought I would just talk a little bit about
what executive functions are that executive functions refers to a cluster
a family of mental functions that are needed when going on automatic would
either be not sufficient or be detrimental you would do the wrong thing
if you just went on automatic the core executive functions are inhibitory
control working memory and cognitive flexibility and from those higher-order
executive functions are built like reasoning problem-solving and planning
inhibitory control is the ability to resist the stronger inclination to do
one thing and instead do what’s most appropriate or needed and there’s
several different kinds of inhibitory control one kind of an inventory control
is at the level of attention selective or focused attention paying attention
despite distraction inhibiting attention to what’s not relevant and keeping your
attention focused on what is relevant another aspect of inhibitory control
is resisting the many temptations not to do your assignments or not to finish
what you started maybe the big project you started has gotten boring by now or
maybe it’s much harder than you thought or maybe there’s an interesting tangent
that you’d much rather go off on instead of the project you originally picked but
you have the discipline to stay at it and finish it and see it through
evidence shows that discipline accounts for over twice as much variation in
final grades as those IQ even in college self-control is the last of the three
aspects of inhibitory control it’s being able to resist temptations to think
before you act to not act impulsively so a little child might resist grabbing
another child’s toy or your resist getting in front of people in line or
maybe there’s an old friend that you haven’t seen for years and your first
reaction on seeing this friend that you like so much is my god how much weight
you gained but you don’t say that you inhibit saying that and say something
you make your friend feel good so inhibitory control includes selective
attention discipline and self-control children much less inhibitory control
that is children who are less persistent more impulsive and had poorer attention
regulation as adults thirty years later have worse health earn less and commit
more crimes than those with better inhibitory control as young children
controlling for everything under the Sun IQ gender social class home lives and
family circumstances growing up that’s based on a study of 1,000 children born
in the same city in the same year followed for 32 years with a 96 percent
retention rate unfortunately I didn’t do the study the authors conclude that
interventions that achieve even small improvements in inhibitory control for
individuals could shift the entire distribution of outcomes in a salutary
direction and yield large improvements in health wealth and crime rate for a
nation working memory is holding information in
mind while mentally working with it that’s critical for anything that
unfolds over time for that always requires holding in mind what happened
earlier and relating that to what’s happening now so of course it’s critical
for understanding any spoken language because you have to relate what you’re
hearing now to what you heard earlier and it’s critical for anything that you
read because you can’t be looking at the whole thing at the same time so you have
to hold in mind what you read earlier and relate it to what you’re reading now
it’s crucial for mental math for understanding cause and effect let’s say
you do something and somebody reacts if you don’t remember what you did you
don’t know why you got that reaction what did I do
why are you acting that way you have to remember cognitive flexibility is being
able to easily and quickly switch perspectives or the focus of attention
flexibly adjusting to change demands or priorities being able to think outside
the box so if one way of solving a problem isn’t working how can you think
about the problem in a different way think outside the box so you can
conceptualize it differently and be able to solve this which nobody else has been
able to solve before there also involves flexibility maybe you are planning to do
one thing but an opportunity has arisen to do something else are you going to
Ridge rigidly stay with what you were planning or do you have the flexibility
to take advantage of serendipity do you have the flexibility to admit when you
were wrong when you get more information an example of poor cognitive flexibility
comes from Alexander Graham Bell when one door closes another door opens
but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we
do not see the ones which open for us all of the above are executive functions
or rely on them executive functions are more important for school readiness than
IQ or entry level reading or math they’re also important for school
success working memory and inhibition each independently predict both math and
read confidence throughout the school years
from preschool through university executive functions are critical for job
success poor executive functions lead to poor productivity and difficulty finding
and keeping a job they’re important for marital harmony people with poor
executive functions are more difficult to get along with less dependable more
likely to act on impulse and poor executive functions can lead to social
problems like aggression emotional outbursts a crime and early executive
function gains can reduce the later incidents of aggression or antisocial
behavior executive functions are core skills critical for cognitive social and
psychological development for mental and physical health and for success in
school and in life and they depend on prefrontal cortex and the other neural
regions with which prefrontal cortex is interconnected nowhere is the importance
of social emotional and physical health for cognitive health more evident than
with prefrontal cortex and executive functions a prefrontal cortex and
executive functions are the first to suffer and suffer disproportionately if
you’re sad or stressed lonely or not physically fit our brains work better
when we’re not in a stressed emotional state and that’s particularly true for
prefrontal cortex and executive functions one reason for that is that
even mild stress dramatically increases the neurotransmitter dopamine in
prefrontal cortex prefrontal cortex needs dopamine just like your car engine
needs gasoline but what happens if you flood your car engine with gasoline now
it’s not going to work properly and it’s the same thing if you flood prefrontal
cortex with dopamine it can’t work properly and mild stress only has that
effect on prefrontal it’s not affecting any other brain region that way even
though these other brain regions have dopamine in college students one month
of stress in preparation for a major exam disrupts
Arnel cortex functional connectivity it also disrupts executive functions like
attention shifting the good news is that they recover when you’re sad you’re
worse at selective attention when you’re happy you’re better at selective
attention people show more creativity when they’re happy the most heavily
researched predictor of creativity in social psychology z’ mood the most
robust finding is that a happy mood leads to greater creativity it enables
people to work more flexibly and to see potential relatedness among unusual and
atypical members of categories our brains work better when we’re not
feeling lonely or socially isolated and that’s particularly true for prefrontal
cortex and executive functions so an example of just a couple of studies
Roybal meister and colleagues told one group of subjects beforehand that they
were likely to have close relationships throughout their lives they told another
group of subjects the opposite and the third group of subjects unrelated bad
news on simple memorization questions that don’t require executive functions
all three groups perform comparably but on logical reasoning that requires
executive functions those told to expect that they’d be lonely perform worse
other researchers haven’t tried to manipulate that they simply give out a
little survey when you come into the lab do you feel socially supported do you
feel lonely and for example one group found that prefrontal cortex works less
efficiently and people who report that they feel lonely our brains work better
when our bodies have physically fit and that’s particularly true for prefrontal
cortex and executive functions the brain doesn’t recognize the same sharp
division between cognitive and motor functioning that we impose in our
thinking the same or substantially overlapping brain systems subserve both
cognitive and motor function for example the pre supplementary motor area the pre
SMA is important for sequential tasks and it doesn’t matter whether they’re
sequential motor tasks or sequential cognitive tasks moe
cognitive tests that activate dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex the area I
specialize it also activate the cerebellum and we didn’t know this until
we started doing fMRI I mean meaning the entire scientific world didn’t know this
and one of the big surprises from FMR fMRI research was to see the cerebellum
activated for cognitive tasks what on earth is this motor area doing when you
need cognition and there’s no motor component nobody understood but when
prefrontal cortex activation goes up cerebellar activation goes up when
cerebellar activation goes down prefrontal activation goes down the
activations in these two regions is strikingly correlated and closely
coupled motor development and cognitive development appear to be fundamentally
intertwined when cognitive development is perturbed
as an in oral developmental disorder motor development is often adversely
affected as well so about half the kids diagnosed with ADHD or dyslexia or
autism which fit the diagnosis for developmental coordination disorder and
about half the kids diagnosed with developmental coordination disorder
which fit the diagnosis for ADHD autism or dyslexia the cerebellum is smaller
and children with ADHD and children with autism than in normal controls indeed
the largest difference in the brains of ADHD and non ADHD children is not in
prefrontal it’s not in the striatum it’s in the cerebellum children with ADHD
show more sway when tested for balance than control children either with their
eyes closed or went on a foam pad they have problems when they need to rely on
vestibular input cognitive and motor skills obey the same laws and are
required in fundamentally similar ways one example out of the many I can give
is training effects massed practice where you practice the same thing over
and over in a short period of time gives you better immediate performance but
worse long-term performance if you want the best long-term
outcomes you want space practice spread it out don’t do it all in the same short
period of time and that’s true whether you’re doing motor learning or cognitive
learning now remember exercise alone appears not to be as effective in
improving executive functions at least in children as exercise plus character
development martial arts or exercise plus mindfulness yoga in a pilot study
on yoga girls 10 and 13 years of age were randomly assigned to yoga or
physical training the yoga training which involved physical training
relaxation and sensory awareness improved performance on an executive
function tasks called Tower of London which requires all three core executive
functions and they were especially impaired the more difficult the
condition of the task physical training which was increased physical activity
without any mindfulness component produced no impairments in executive
function in reviews what they’ve concluded is yoga interventions were
equal or superior to exercise and nearly every outcome measured in both healthy
and diseased populations yoga may be as effective or better than
exercise and improving a variety of health-related
outcome measures Lakes and Hoyt did a wonderful study where they randomly
assigned children in grades kindergarten through fifth grade to taekwondo martial
arts or standard phys ed children who’d been assigned to taekwondo training show
greater gains than children and standard phys ed on all dimensions of executive
function they studied cognitive dimensions like whether your
distractible or focused affective dimensions like whether you quit easily
or you persevere this generalized to multiple context and was found on
multiple measures they also improved more on mental math which requires
working memory science magazine asked me to review all the interventions or
programs for which there was empirical evidence that they improved executive
functions and it turns out there’s a lot of
different activities that improve executive functions including computer
games computer computer training aerobics martial arts yoga mindfulness
and school curricula have all been shown to improve children’s executive
functions regardless of the intervention a few principles hold those with
initially poorest executive functions always gained the most since needy
children often start school behind on executive functions and since those with
initially poorest executive functions gain the most early executive function
training is an excellent candidate for leveling the playing field and reducing
the achievement gap and the health gap between more and less advantaged
children children at risk start school with worse executive functions than more
economically advantaged children and fall progressively farther behind each
school year perhaps early executive function training could nip that dynamic
in the bud small differences at the beginning can lead to bigger and bigger
differences over time exam executive function computerized training transfers
to new things never practiced but the transfer is very narrow so if you
practice working memory it improves working memory but no other executive
function if you practice only spatial working memory it improves spatial
working memory but not verbal working memory so you if you practice spatial
working memory on an X you can also do better on spatial working memory on a B
and C that you never practiced but you not bet on anything else like even the
very closely related skill of verbal working memory executive function gains
from training and traditional martial arts and in school curricula are wider
perhaps because the program’s themselves address executive functions more
globally so the transfers may not actually be wider it may just be that
the training itself addresses more different kinds of executive functions
consider that Li the largest differences between
intervention groups versus controls are found on the most demanding executive
function conditions everybody does okay when executive function demands are
moderate group differences are clearest when significant executive control is
needed you need to push the system to see a difference executive functions
need to be continually challenged to see improvements not just used but
challenged groups assigned to the same program but without difficulty
increasing don’t show the same gains setting aside a time to work on
executive functions is less effective than working on executive functions as
part and parcel of everything you do can stand consistent with that Erickson has
looked at expert performance across many different domains physical activity
domains cognitive domains games and he finds that what it takes to be an expert
to be really good at something is countless hours of practice in fact he
says 10,000 hours of practice and practice to keep pushing your level of
comfort and skill not practicing what you’re able to do but practicing just
beyond what you feel you can do Vygotsky talked about the same sort of thing
how can someone practice a skill he or she isn’t yet capable of performing and
the answer is disk a fell’d so here’s an example of a dad
scaffolding his daughter she might not be able to cross the log over the river
on her own but with dad holding on she can do it so he’s scaffolding her he’s
supporting her so that even though she couldn’t do it completely on her own
with dad helping out she can do it and she can get practice scaffolds and able
children to practice skills they would not otherwise be able to practice
scaffolds does help children get practice and the pride of having
succeeded and increasing confidence that they’ll be able to succeed and through
repeated practice they improve the importance of repeated practice
prefrontal cortex the area I specialize in is overrated
to learn something new we need prefrontal cortex but after something is
no longer new the people who perform best usually recruit prefrontal least
and this is an example from an early neuroimaging study in the mid-1990s
it’s a test that requires prefrontal cortex and some subjects activated
prefrontal bilaterally some subjects activated it more on one side some
subjects more on the other side and two subjects didn’t activate it at all
this is Ruth Brigitta and Cathie Oh Craven my colleagues collaborators on
the study and because they were familiar with the test prefrontal activation
dropped out and when we averaged them with all the other subjects it reduced
the size of our effect when something is new
those who recruit prefrontal most usually perform best but when you’re
really good at it you’re usually not using prefrontal so much older brain
regions have had far longer to perfect their functioning they can subservience
ever so much more efficiently than can prefrontal a child may know
intellectually at the level of prefrontal that he shouldn’t hit another
but in the heat of the moment if that knowledge hasn’t become automatic passed
on from prefrontal till old or brain regions the child will hit another even
though if you ask the child he knows perfectly well he shouldn’t do it it’s
the difference between knowing something at an intellectual level at the level of
prefrontal and having it be second nature or automatic the only way
something becomes automatic becomes passed off from prefrontal is through
action repeated action nothing else will do and Aristotle knew this in the fourth
century BC we are what we repeatedly do excellence then is not an act but a
habit we don’t act rightly because we have virtue or excellence but we rather
have these because we’ve acted rightly these virtues are formed in a person by
doing the actions we are what we repeatedly do many activities not yet
studied might well improve executive functions it all depends on the way the
is done and the amount of time spent doing it the most important element is
probably that the child really want to do it so that he or she will spend a lot
of time at it it’s the discipline the practice that produces the benefits Mike
so we might as well have children do something they can put their heart and
soul into now that could be music it could be playing a musical instrument
it could be orchestra it could be sports there are no studies of the value of
sports for executive functions there are studies of the value of aerobics for
executive functions but zero studies of the benefits of any sport for executive
functions unless you consider martial arts of sport there’s no studies of the
benefits of nature being in nature gardening orienteering in the woods no
studies of the benefits of dance the National Dance Institute was founded in
the mid 1970s by a remarkable ballet dancer named Jacques d’Amboise he was
the best male ballet dancer in the world for three decades he was so good that
the famous choreographer Balanchine choreographed ballet specifically for
him he was a high school dropout a poor kid from a poor neighborhood headed for
trouble he happened to walk his sister to dance class one day and the rest is
history so he figured if dance rescued him maybe he could rescue other troubled
kids before you leave wait for the video it’s the next thing coming so he founded
the National Dance Institute which has reached almost a hundred thousand kids
and there lots of testimonials about how much it’s helped kids but there’s no
research data yet we’re hoping to get some it’s provided free to all the kids
so let me get the video improve executive functions mental health
academic achievement another is Circus so I have a graduate student who just
joined my lab this year just sent to graduate school who dropped out of high
school at age 14 to become a mine and she studied mine with Marcel Marceau was
a professional mime and then discovered sir
and went into circus for several years and for the last 12 years has been
teaching in youth circus it turns out I didn’t know that in large cities all
over North America there’s youth circuses which work with
at-risk kids and claim to transform their lives but again there’s no data
that it’s that it’s to back it up so she can’t has come to my lab to try to do
the scientific study to see if she can rigorously show what people say they see
and if you think about it it makes some sense that it should improve executive
functions certainly you have to use your executive functions you have to
concentrate and stay focused you’re on the high wire you don’t want to lose
your focus it builds community you learn to cooperate and trust others if
somebody’s spotting you you want to be able to trust that that person is not
gonna let you get hurt and the kids love it and of course it develops all kinds
of physical skills Fitness balance coordination strength flexibility
aerobic capacity this guy over here was born in prison his dad was dead his
mother was in prison by the age of three his mother was dead at the age of
fourteen he was the oldest male and his family still alive who wasn’t in prison
he discovered circus at the age of eight and last year he entered university
dance sport circus martial arts challenge our executive functions make
us happy and proud or address our social needs and help our bodies develop these
activities challenge executive functions they require inhibitory control
selective attention self-control discipline thinking before you act
working memory cognitive flexibility creatively thinking outside the box
flexibly adjusting to change conditions or in a moment you have to adjust to
what’s happening out there they require serious discipline and
perseverance you have to practice practice practice
they’re cognitively demanding they sustain your attention there you have
two whole complex sequences in mind you learn a work ethic to get good the only
way is practice practice practice through
repeated experiences of not being able to do something then trying really
really hard and being able to do it you learn not to give up and in sports or
circus or all these others you get that repeated experience first you think
skill X is totally impossible then you try really hard and you’re able to do X
now the teacher says do 2x and you think there’s no way I’m going to be able to
do this then you keep trying and miraculously you’re able to do it and
you keep seeing that nothing’s really impossible if I keep trying I can do it
it helps you come to believe in yourselves to build pride and confidence
you see yourself succeed you see yourself conquering challenges mastering
what it first looked impossible um Samuel prokta Macy said you’ll never
failed until you’ve tried for the last time and you’ve never lost until you
quit he was a black man born in the deep segregated south in the early 1900s
there’s no question that he failed a lot was set back a lot experienced lots of
discrimination yet he went on to be the first african-american professor at a
u.s. naval academy he was named one of the six best college chemistry
professors in the u.s. one of the 75 premier chemists of the 20th century
his portrait hangs in the National Academy of Science and a chair of
excellence has been named in his honor you’ve never failed until you’ve tried
for the last time you’ve never lost until you quit children need
opportunities to do things that enable them to believe in themselves doable
challenges pride self-confidence and joy come from seeing yourself succeed at
something that you know isn’t easy and sports circus all of these give you the
opportunity to do that usually if we hold children to high standards they
rise to them this helps children come to believe in themselves and are presenting
such challenges affirms our belief that they can do it if we don’t let you try
you won’t fail but you never get the chance to win either it’s a
important to communicate loud and clear our faith in each child and the
expectation that each child will succeed Goethe said treat people as if they were
what they ought to be and you help them become what they’re capable of being
psychology is shown over and over again the incredibly powerful effect of
expectations expectations that others have for you and the expectations that
you have for yourself for example there’s a very famous study called
Pygmalion in the classroom done I think in the 1950s it would never pass human
subjects review now seriously what they did is to give children in in some
school an IQ test and then they misinformed the teachers intentionally
about half the kids half the kids who had done really well on the IQ test
they said they had really low scores and half the kids who had really low scores
they told the teacher they had really high scores by the end of the school
year the kids were performing performing in line with what the teachers had been
told not in line with their actual scores at the beginning of the year what
we expect has a huge effect on what we see in the students and then the
expectations we have for ourselves that many examples of this one example comes
from Social Psychology in the area of what’s called stereotype threat there
are lots of stereotypes in our culture and one is that in general women do less
well in math than men in general so researchers went to a university
they gave university students like many of you guys a standard math test and lo
and behold as a group the women’s students performed not as well as the
men’s students then they went to another University totally comparable group of
students gave exactly the same test they only changed what they said before the
test they said this particular test has been designed to be gender neutral on
this particular test women’s score as well as men and what did they find the
women scored as well as the men it was the same test the only thing that
changed is the women’s expectations for themselves
the expectations you have for yourself are huge sports martial arts dance
circus improve your self-image your self-esteem your self-confidence for
many reasons you experience having courage you experience not being so
physically awkward anymore moving with increased grace learning to trust your
body increase self-confidence in using your body sports dance and circus
provide great joy for the people involved happiness joy feelings of flow
of vitality they reduce depression and anxiety NDI el sistema Youth Orchestra
and the two curricular I’ve shown to improve executive functions which you
call tools of the mind and Montessori or in all of those programs embarrassment
is extremely rare no child has ever singled out or told they were rolling or
scolded in public never happens and all these programs their shared activities
their group ensemble team activities and that reduces social isolation and
provides a sense of belonging children are part of a team an ensemble of
dancers or musicians they learn to help one another listen to one another
respect one another each is an important part of the whole in a direct and
sometimes high-risk way they learn to trust one another this increased sense
of community of experience being accepted by others working toward a
common shared goal we’re in this together over time they get to know each
other better they share ideas they share goals and they’re there for one another
and these experiences create bonds they learn to cooperate how to work with
others they come to see the value of collaborating and cooperating another
characteristic of El Sistema ndin youth circus is close mentoring relationships I believe the greatest gift I can
conceive of having from anyone is to be seen by them heard by them to be
understood close mentoring relationships the social emotional and cognitive
aspects of physical activity are critically important physical activity
is not only good for our bodies it’s good for our minds and our intellect
it’s good for our emotions and it’s socially nourishing to show the
executive functions children are capable of to achieve the academic outcomes that
they’re capable of children need to feel joyful and unstressed they need to feel
they’re valued members of a supportive community they can count on and their
bodies need to be fit and healthy a hypothesis gaining support is that
physical activity may be critical for achieving the outcomes we all want for
our children the different parts of the human being cognitive social emotional
and physical are fundamentally interrelated many different types of
physical activity can address each and every one of those parts if a child’s
emotional social or physical needs are unmet those unmet needs will work
against that child showing us good executive functions as he or she can and
doing as well in school as he or she can even if your goal is only to improve
academic achievement the best way to achieve that is not to focus narrowly on
academics alone but to address children’s social and emotional
development as do the curricula based programs that improve executive
functions and children’s physical development as do aerobics martial arts
and yoga counter-intuitively the most efficient
and effective strategy for advancing academic achievement is not to focus
only on academics but to nurture all aspects of the child thank you very much
for your attention Wow thank you okay I’ll leave time for people who need
to leave and then there’s time for discussion and questions so if you have a question there’s a
microphone right here so those of you that want to interact for a short time
here with some questions please move towards the front we have this
microphone plus that one dr. diamond thank you for your
presentation many things I could say to you I’ll try to be brief first I’d like
to thank you for that plug for the field of kinesiology formerly known as or
inclusive of physical education and in the broad sense before it became seems
to be today focused a lot on exercise physiology so thank you for that perhaps
we can give you arrange for an honorary membership of American Alliance for
health physical education recreation and dance you’ve covered a lot of ground in
your career and I first learned of your work a few years ago where and pardon me
if my interpretation isn’t accurate but but I sense that your work today really
emphasizes the role of our activities in influencing the development of the brain
whether it be various physical forms of activity mindfulness activities I know
you’ve had conversations with His Holiness the Dalai Lama so I’m sure
you’ve had discussions about the role of meditation in influencing prefrontal
cortex am I correct that you’re thinking more about how our various activities
influence the brain whereas earlier you might have thought about how brain
maturation influences our activities interesting question I tried to put it
diplomatically I think I’ve always thought it was both I’ve always been
interested in genetic and neuro chemical influences on prefrontal I still am and
I’ve always been interested in environmental influences on prefrontal
negative influences like poverty or stress and positive influences like
interventions but you’re absolutely right my my earliest work was looking
how looking at how brain maturation made possible certain cognitive changes so
that emphasized brain maturation more so you’re right you’re right
and now I’m much more interested in environmental interventions absolutely
yeah hi I okay I kind of have two questions one’s kind
of based on the last half of your presentation and the other one is based
on kind of the first half so I’ll work backwards physical activity plays an
integral role in increasing prefrontal function in children especially so has
anyone used this evidence to make an argument for physical activity in
schools and how has that progressed unfortunately school districts and the
state departments of Education and the federal Department of Education is less
evidence-based are less evidence-based than you’d like so people who are
inclined in that direction are will incorporate the evidence and preserve
and increase physical activity but most school districts are reducing the amount
of time for physical activity because they’re so incredibly worried about the
exams at the end of the year and think incorrectly that the best way to get the
best outcomes on those exams is to spend more time on academics and so anything
other than academics are considered frills and they’re eliminated the thing
is it sounds very intuitive that if what you care about our academic outcomes you
should spend the most time on academic instruction but not everything that’s
logical is correct and it seems that it’s not the best way to get academic
out the best academic outcomes it seems that the best way to get the best
academic outcomes is to not have all the academic instruction but to have more
time for physical activity play in the arts and some people are hearing that
but many people aren’t frustrating yes I was learning about that and one of my
other classes and then my second question
has to do with the physiological aspects of physical activity you noted that
aerobic activity had the most positive results for prefrontal cortex
development but what about the negative effects of overtraining has that been
studied at all is there a limit at which point it becomes detrimental to brain
development well first of all the strongest effects for aerobic exercise
or with adults and with older adults so for development as far as we have seen
so far things that go beyond just simply aerobics but use the mind more whether
it’s yoga or martial arts seem to do better excuse me there is evidence that
overdoing it going exerting yourself too much is bad it’s bad in terms of your
physical health and it’s bad in terms of exhausting your resources so you don’t
have the resources to be able to do other things like cognitive tasks so
over the golden mean is the way to go you don’t want too much and you don’t
want too little absolutely going once okay I’m gonna make an easy question I
think so from what age can we start training kids on executive function is
that an onset or we can start it’s never too early and it’s never too late so you
can train executive function in infancy they published papers showing that
certain experiences improve executive functions by the age of seven months
I’ve shown improvements by 10 11 12 months and you also see improvements in
people 80 or 90 years old through physical exercise in particular thank
you