The Mind Body Relationship Is A Two Way Street: Mind To Body And Body to Mind
“Mens sana in corpore sano” (i.e., “A sound mind in a healthy body”) is possibly one of the phrases in human history with the widest range in meanings. Originally this phrase comes from Satire X of the Roman poet Juvenal (~60–127 AD).
Juvenal’s intention with this phrase was rather to teach his fellow Roman citizens the right virtues worth praying for, than making any scientific statement about the impact of physical activity and whole food nutrition on the human mind. But Juvenal’s phrase interpreted in the latter context has turned true in light of growing evidence from neurocognitive research suggesting that physical fitness and whole food nutrition indeed enhances cognitive function, especially in children.
Crossing the Midline – KidSense
The body’s mid-line is an imaginary line down the centre of the body that divides the body into left and right. Crossing the body’s mid-line is the ability to reach across the middle of the body with the arms and legs. This allows children to cross over their body to perform a task on the opposite side of their body (e.g. being able to draw a horizontal line across a page without having to switch hands in the middle, sitting cross-legged on the floor or being able to insert puzzle pieces using the dominant right hand when the puzzle is placed on the left hand side of the body).
Crossing the body’s mid-line is an important developmental skill needed for many everyday tasks such as writing, reaching towards your foot to put on a shoe and sock with both hands and hitting a ball with a bat. When a child spontaneously crosses the mid-line with the dominant hand, then the dominant hand gets the practice needed to develop good fine motor skills by repeated consistent hand dominance.
If a child avoids crossing the mid-line, then both hands tend to get equal practice at developing skills and the child’s true handedness may be delayed. This means that once a child starts school, learning to write is much more difficult when they have two less skilled hands rather than one stronger, more skilled (dominant) hand. Difficulty crossing the mid-line also makes it difficult to visually track a moving object from one side to the other or track from left to right when reading, meaning reading can also be delayed.
Children who have difficulty crossing the midline will work the right side of the body with the right hand, and the left with the left, to avoid crossing that invisible line. This makes development of a dominant hand and academic tasks such as reading and writing very difficult. Playing sports and even playground play will also be trickier. Even the ability to dress and feed oneself requires the ability to cross the midline!
Christie Burnett is an early childhood teacher, presenter, writer and the editor of Childhood 101. Sh has put together 10 YouTube videos that share ideas for developing midline crossing ability. They are perfect for brain breaks, being both short and engaging, just right for refreshing and refocusing student attention while getting the brain and body working together more effortlessly and efficiently!
HealthCoach: Brain Health 2019
Schooling builds human capital – skills, abilities, and resources which ultimately shape health and well-being. Both exercise and nutrition play a critical role in the development of the mind and body of children.
Exercise represents a behavioral intervention that enhances brain health and motor function. The increase in cerebral blood volume in response to physical activity may be responsible for improving brain function. Among the various neuroimaging techniques used to monitor brain hemodynamic response during exercise, functional near-infrared spectroscopy could facilitate the measurement of task-related cortical responses noninvasively and is relatively robust with regard to the subjects’ motion.
Although the components of optimal exercise interventions have not been determined, evidence from animal and human studies suggests that aerobic exercise with sufficiently high intensity has neuroprotective properties and promotes motor function.
Evidence accrued from research conducted over the past few years suggests that gains in children’s mental functioning due to exercise training are seen most clearly on tasks that involve executive functions. Executive functions are involved in performing goal-directed actions in complex stimulus environments, especially novel ones, in which elements are constantly changing.
Research that addresses the impact of physical activity on children’s physical health, mental function, and psychological well being is of critical importance. Authorities note that school administrators, who are faced with the demands of preparing children for standardized tests, have reduced children’s time spent in systematic physical activity programs.
Cognitive development is influenced by many factors, including nutrition. There is an increasing body of literature that suggests a connection between improved whole food nutrition and optimal brain function. Nutrients provide building blocks that play a critical role in cell proliferation, DNA synthesis, neurotransmitter and hormone metabolism, and are important constituents of enzyme systems in the brain
In terms of normative data (i.e., expected values), the updated international literature indicates that we can expect 1) among children, boys to average 12,000 to 16,000 steps/day and girls to average 10,000 to 13,000 steps/day; and, 2) adolescents to steadily decrease steps/day until approximately 8,000-9,000 steps/day are observed in 18-year olds. Controlled studies of cadence show that continuous MVPA walking produces 3,300-3,500 steps in 30 minutes or 6,600-7,000 steps in 60 minutes in 10-15 year olds.
Limited evidence suggests that a total daily physical activity volume of 10,000-14,000 steps/day is associated with 60-100 minutes of MVPA in preschool children (approximately 4-6 years of age). Across studies, 60 minutes of MVPA in primary/elementary school children appears to be achieved, on average, within a total volume of 13,000 to 15,000 steps/day in boys and 11,000 to 12,000 steps/day in girls. For adolescents (both boys and girls), 10,000 to 11,700 may be associated with 60 minutes of MVPA.
MVPA – moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity
The microbiome marks an evolution of health–both within and beyond our bodies. New technologies and research inform that each one of us is a vast and complex ecosystem. This new biology reveals the potential of bacteria to restore and sustain the systemic health of ourselves and our environment, radically transforming our approach to medicine, hygiene, diet, and living.
The intestinal microbiota are important in human growth and childhood development. Microbial composition may yield insights into the temporal development of microbial communities and vulnerabilities to disorders of microbial ecology such as recurrent Clostridium difficile infection.
Discoveries of key microbiome features of carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism are lending new insights into possible therapies or preventative strategies for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The central premise is that the human intestinal microbiome plays a vital role in health and disease, beginning in the prenatal period and extending throughout childhood. A healthy microbiome is critical for cognitive development in children.
Emerging evidence suggests that microbiome composition and function is associated with development of childhood obesity and metabolic disease. Microbial colonization expands rapidly following birth, and microbiome composition is particularly variable during infancy.
Factors that influence the formation of the gut microbiome during infancy and childhood may have a significant impact on development of obesity and metabolic dysfunction, with life-long consequences.
A major limitation is that we do not yet know what constitutes a “healthy” microbiome. Establishing this is imperative, but will be challenging, because a healthy microbiome is likely to be impacted by many factors and may differ between individuals and by life stage.
In conclusion, scientific evidence based on neuroimaging approaches over the last decade has demonstrated the efficacy of physical activity improving cognitive health across the human lifespan. Aerobic fitness spares age-related loss of brain tissue during aging, and enhances functional aspects of higher order regions involved in the control of cognition.
More active or more fit individuals are capable of allocating greater attentional resources toward the environment and are able to process information more quickly. This data suggests that aerobic fitness enhances cognitive strategies enabling more effective response to an imposed challenge with a better yield in task performance.
Accumulating evidence suggests that diet and lifestyle can play an important role in childhood cognitive development. Diet and lifestyle may also delay the onset or halt the progression of age-related health disorders, as well as improve cognitive function.
Exercise has been promoted as a possible prevention for neurodegenerative diseases. Exercise will have a positive influence on cognition as it increases the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, an essential neurotrophin.
Several dietary components have been identified as having positive effects on cognitive abilities. In particular, polyphenols and antioxidants from berries have been reported to exert their neuroprotective actions through their potential to protect neurons against injury induced by neurotoxins and oxidative stress. Polyphenols and antioxidants from berries have the ability to also suppress neuroinflammation, and the potential to promote memory, learning, and cognitive function.
HealthCoach – Gerald J. Joseph International, LLC
HealthCoach – is an evidence-based program that empowers the doctor, patient, corporate client, and health coach to improve treatment outcomes by safely engaging clients in personalized health/behavior changes supported by diet, organic nutraceuticals, and walking.
HealthCoach – helps assess, design and coach parents and children on how to transition to healthy ways of eating. Healthy eating when combined with increased exercise activity will lead to a better balanced child’s energy, focus and calmness.
HealthCoach – recommends colorful organic veggies, legumes, antioxidant rich super-fruits, high-fiber rich root vegetables, fungi (mushrooms), energy-packed nuts and seeds, calcium-rich alternatives to milk (from nut milks and legumes in the form of pea milk). – And lots and lots of water!
HealthCoach – recognizes worldwide public health physical activity guidelines which include special emphasis on populations of children (typically 6-11 years) and adolescents (typically 12-19 years). Existing guidelines are commonly expressed in terms of frequency, time, and intensity of behaviour.
HealthCoach – recommends 10,000 steps per-day.
Gerald J. Joseph – HealthCoach
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