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Train Your Brain Like an Olympian

August 18, 2016
Posted By: Sarah Mackey, Public Programs Intern/Facilitator at TELUS Spark

For the last two weeks men and women have been splashing and sprinting their way through Rio de Janeiro. The 2016 Summer Olympics have offered a stage for the world’s athletes to prove they are the best. With 24 World Records broken (as of August 17), they have yet to disappoint.

We assume the Olympics are meant to be a spectacle of perfection. Yet the earliest Olympics were founded under an Aristotelian philosophy of contemplation and equality. These games argue that sport contains a liberty and joy of its own that can only be enjoyed if we fully participate in the play before us.

As it turns out, Aristotle wasn't so far off the mark. Engaging in sports helps us develop skills like problem solving, spatial thinking and cooperation. If the sport has a little bit of risk to it, say jumping off the high dive, brain development is turbo charged.

It’s not only Olympic level athletes whose brains benefit from sport. Anyone who’s played on a hockey team, regularly goes to a spin class or occasionally plays a round of golf is experiencing the same thing. Every time we exercise, our brains release a chemical called Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF). BDNF helps our brain cells develop new neural pathways, which in turn leads to long-term connections and memories.

At TELUS Spark we are proud to offer up our outdoor park, The Brainasium, to our visitors. We have a teeter-totter built for six, a 93-foot long logjam, sky-high swings and a 63-foot long slide. Everything in The Brainasium is built to encourage risky play. This means everything in this space helps develop learning skills and personal resiliency.

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Now, what this all means is you don't have to go to Brazil to build better connections between your brain cells. We hope you’ll come check out The Brainasium, playground of champions!