8th Asia Pacific Conference on Exercise and Sports Science 2017
Name: Prof. Dr. Gıyasettin DEMİRHAN
Position: Dean, Faculty of Sports Sciences and President of Turkish Sports Sciences Association
Address: Hacettepe University, Turkey
Prof. Dr. Gıyasettin Demirhan is working at Hacettepe University Faculty of Sport Sciences. He is Dean of the Faculty and Head of Physical Education and Sport Teacher Education Department. Also, he is a president of Turkish Sport Sciences Association. He is a member of some international scientific association like AIESEP, FIEP, ECSS, ISHPES. Currintly his research interests are critical thinking, instructional technology in PE, relationship between physical activity and academic performance and cognitive process, risk perception in outdoor-adventure sports. He published 22 articles in international refereed journals and 43 articles in national referred journals. Also, he has two books and 10 book chapters in physical education and sport pedagogy. He presented more than 100 papers in international and national scientific congresses and completed 12 international and national scientific projects in his own research field. He was as keynote and invited speaker at many national and international scientific meetings. Also, he organized many international and national scientific meetings. He has 117 citations in scientific journals which are indexed in SSCI and SCI and 360 citations in Google Scholar.
Why does our brain love physical activity?
The purpose of this paper is to provide information on why our brain loves physical activity and how positive changes occur in some activities and some situations related with our brain when regular physical activity is done. According to the results of many studies conducted so far, physical activity levels of children and young people decrease with each passing day. The major reason for this is spending too much time on television and computer, staying immobile more than necessary to study for academic classes, walking to schools being unsafe, and the lack of regular physical activity habits. However, the World Health Organization and many other authorities related with this topic claim that regular physical activity at certain times and at certain levels are inevitable for humans. For example, physical activity increases the flow of the blood among tissues and improves the access of the tissues to nutrients and oxygen. By doing so, more tissues are fed, and poisonous wastes are excreted. The same situation is also valid for the brain. It is considered that physical activity has positive influences for general health as well as mental health and brain development. For example, during physical activity, the blood that goes to the brain increases, stress is reduced, emotional status is improved, synaptic flexibility is developed, which are all variables that may increase academic success. On the other hand, norepinephrine is secreted when there is physical activity. This increases attention, perception and motivation. The secretion of dopamine increases motivation, attention and learning level. The reason for this is the fact that the size of the hippocampus area in the brain, which is related with learning and memory, grows when there is regular physical activity. Again, serotonin is secreted when there is physical activity, which increases the feeling of happiness. Since a happy person will give his/her attention to the work s/he is doing, cognitive processes and academic success are also increased. In addition, the results of many studies have revealed that children who do regular physical activity have higher attitude points towards physical activity. For this reason, it is possible to claim that physical activity has positive influences in brain development, cognitive processes, in increasing the academic performance and in developing positive attitudes.