Aerobic exercise is crucial for health, to strengthen the immune system and most importantly for us with our children with special needs, it helps the brain grow and repair.
When you look at your children, I imagine they are likely to fall into the “busy”, “hyperactive”, “high strung” and “doesn’t sit still” categories. And so you might say to yourself, “Yes, at least they get exercise all day, which is good for their brain!” :-)
But are they really getting aerobic exercise?
Let me share with you a recent anecdote…
Max had been on Sensory Enrichment therapy for almost a year. A twelve-year-old chubby blond curly hair, Max had a passion for lights and would spend the entire day running around the house to switch them on, then check if they were still on, and then keep going around the house on a mission. When Max was not involved in light-switching, he would pace in front of the tv watching the same cartoon or sit at the computer clicking endlessly.
We decided to put Max on a daily aerobic program, involving two walks outside each day and two session of activity in the backyard. Max’s mom was a little doubtful that she would be able to get Max to follow her on a walk. We made suggestions and gradually, both were walking twice daily for longer and longer distances.
The result of the added exercise was a sudden burst of speech, better sleep, better understanding and play capacity.
Usually, movement that happens inside the house is not exercise.
Aerobic exercise is what raises the heart beat and breathing, and involves effort.
Again, aerobic exercise is crucial for health, to strengthen the immune system and most importantly, it helps the brain grow and repair.
Take your child for walks! Go to the park and you will enjoy the additional health benefits too!
If it is too hot to walk, go to the swimming pool, pick the early and late hours of the day, when the sun is low, walk for twenty to thirty minutes. When they get tired sit on the grass, on a bench. Rest, then keep walking.
These are only general ideas. The point is, make sure your loved one gets to do something fun, that elevates the heart rate for at least 20 minutes.
We’re not on a diet here, we’re on a mission to help the brain repair itself.
It’s free! It’s available everywhere in the world! You can do it! You MUST do it!
Here is some reading material if you would like:
- Carl W. Cotman, Nicole C. Berchtold and Lori-Ann Christie. “Exercise Builds Brain Health: Key Roles of Growth Factor Cascades and Inflammation.” Trends in Neurosciences 30, no. 9 (2007): 464-72.
- Seo TB, Kim BK, Ko IG, Kim DH, Shin MS, Kim CJ, Yoon JH, Kim H. “Effect of Treadmill Exercise on Purkinje Cell Loss and Astrocytic Reaction in the Cerebellum After Traumatic Brain Injury.” Neuroscience Letter Epub ahead of print (2010):
- Kotrschal A, Taborsky B. “Environmental Change Enhances Cognitive Abilities in Fish.” Public Library of Science Biology 8, no. 4 (2010):
- Martončíková M, Lievajová K, Orendáčová J, Bla(sh)ko J, Račeková E. “Odor Enrichment Influences Neurogenesis in the Rostral Migratory Stream of Young Rats.” Acta histochemica Epub ahead of print (2010):
Have a blessed day!