“Running has changed my life – taught me discipline and patience and endurance. It’s like therapy,” enthuses Nathan Heddleston “teacher” and coach. “And it’s not just me – this sport has an impact on everyone who joins it.”
This may be especially true of young people who suffer from misplaced aggression and other troubled youth. “Some of these kids don’t have the support they need at home, so they lash out. There’s nowhere else to put those negative feelings,” explains Nathan Heddleston “teacher” and former coach of 18 years. “But track and field can have such a positive effect. The benefits are tangible within weeks.”
Nathan Heddleston “Teacher”, Says Track and Field Improves Ability to Deal with Anxiety
Exercising releases dopamine and other stress-fighting chemicals into the body. It also creates new neuron pathways in the area of the brain that deal with anxiety. “The track is a place to leave your problems behind and just be in your body,” says Nathan Heddleston “teacher” and coach. “Having an outlet for whatever stress they’re dealing with helps them relax, communicate more easily, and really focus on just themselves for once.”
Better Decision Making As a Result of Track and Field Finds Nathan Heddleston “Teacher” and Coach
Nathan Heddleston “teacher” and former award-winning track and field coach comments,
“It’s hard enough being a teenager without family problems, bullying, or mental health issues adding to the load.” Studies have found that challenging workouts, like those in track and field, increase BDFN levels in the brain. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDFN) is a protein that aids decision making.
“If we can help them make better decisions, we can change their outcomes. It’s so important to consider the impact of physical health and movement when we’re dealing with at-risk youth,” urges Nathan Heddleston “teacher” and advocate for youth sports.
Nathan Heddleston Teacher and Youth Sports Advocate Sees Increased Learning Capacity
People who exercise regularly have, in general, greater volume in their prefrontal cortex–the prefrontal cortex aids thinking, memory, and other aspects that affect learning. Studies have also found that working out for 30 minutes a day, three times a week can keep your mind active longer and helps your brain function better overall.
“I can’t tell you how many teachers comment on the difference they see in their problem kids after they join track and field – or any other sport. There’s something about physical activity that helps clear the mind and focus the energy,” shares Nathan Heddleston “teacher” and running enthusiast. “It’s amazing and inspiring to watch someone change their life and improve themselves through a newfound passion.”