For years, scientists believed that after development, the human
brain contained a finite number of neurons. However, biologists now
know that not only are new neurons formed within the brain, but also
exercise actually stimulates neurogenesis. In large part, this is due to
the exercise-induced release of a chemical that reinforces the brain’s
infrastructure called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This
neurotrophin acts on the brain and “nourishes neurons like fertilizer”
(Ratey & Haberman, 2008, pp. 38-39).
With the help of BDNF, exercise can stimulate the neurogensis. These
newly formed neurons migrate primarily from the hippocampus to other
regions of the brain as needed. Initial studies show that these neurons
can be incorporated into new learning of information. However, just
learning new information during neurogenesis shows a remarkably limited
scope for transfer of knowledge. So far, preliminary studies in animals
indicate the newly formed neurons are much more likely to be
incorporated into broader transferable knowledge when accompanied by
exercise (Reynolds, 2012).
Rise Up is dedicated to assisting students in learning within the
classroom, while also preparing students to learn with the highest rate
of interconnected knowledge possible. Everyday, Rise Up will begin with a
fitness component to prepare students for their academic learning for
the day. Each day a variety of fitness activities are planned for the
students to self-select. These challenge the students with sports they
may not have previously encountered. Students come to the new sport on a
level playing field. All students are learning together which helps
foster a community atmosphere. Further, by rotating the sports, a
variety of skills are employed which gives different students a chance
to excel at different sports. Given the population of students,
basketball is intentionally omitted since this is the dominant sport for
Sports tentatively scheduled include whiffle ball, ultimate Frisbee,
soccer, touch rugby, tennis, mat ball (a variation of kickball), and
capture the flag. Monday through Thursday, walking is always an option
as a safe alternative to the slightly more active sports. This is
intended to make sure that all participants have access to some degree
of physical fitness activity.
Ratey, J., & Hagerman, E. (2008).
Spark: the revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain. Boston,
MA: Little, Brown and Company.
Reynolds, G. (2012, April 18). How exercise could lead to a better brain. New York Times Magazine, Retrieved from website.