Exercise is Medicine
By Joyce Brekke, RRT, BA
Director at JK Martial Arts
Black Belt Shorei-Ryu Karate
JK Martial Arts is celebrating its 8th anniversary this month. When I started this business back in 2007, the first question I asked myself was, “How does the JK Martial Arts curriculum help special learners?” With 30 years of experience in health care, including doing clinical research, I sought to find the answer in Medical Journals.
Dr. John J. Ratey, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, wrote SPARK, the revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain. He compiled many research projects and summarized the proven results that show the benefits exercise has on the brain.
When we do heavy exertion with complex moves, we stimulate the natural brain chemicals that affect our pre-frontal lobe. This part of the brain, known as the executive function, controls our judgment skills, mood and general ability to “self-regulate.” Interestingly, this area of the brain is the last to develop, usually in our late 20s!
Medicine used to treat ADD essentially does the same thing by stimulating the brain chemicals in the prefrontal lobe.
At JK Martial Arts, we are all about exercise. But we also focus on teaching students core values that will guide their practice inside the dojo and help them succeed outside of it. After eight years of teaching, we’ve seen numerous success stories, which I’ll share in forthcoming blogs. I’ll also explain the numerous ways the JKMA curriculum helps special learners. In the meantime, get out and exercise. It’s as good for your mind as it is for your body!