Our teachers know that healthy students learn and perform better. By making small improvements in physical and mental health, the academic potential of our students can improve significantly.
Recognizing this, Crescent has launched STEM 1.0, our Health and Wellbeing Program in partnership with Dr. Greg Wells and the Wells Group. This multi-year initiative helps our boys develop their knowledge and application of scientific principles to enhance their health, wellbeing and performance.
Crescent’s Health and Wellbeing Program focuses on four pillars: Sleep, Think, Eat and Move. We believe that even marginal improvements in these areas can dramatically improve student health and enhance their learning.
The main stages of sleep – NREM and REM – have different effects on our ability to perform. NREM sleep is when we encode memories and learn. The second half of the night, when we are in REM sleep, is when we encode procedural memories like how to perform a new physical skill or mental process. It is also when we do subconscious creative problem solving. The fact that different aspects of recovery, regeneration, learning and creativity happen during different parts of sleep means that getting enough sleep is of utmost importance for those who want to consistently perform at their best.
We often think that working “harder” is the key to success. Tension makes us feel like we’re working hard, but it leads to distress, decreased circulation, bad moods, fatigue and poorer performance.
Highly successful people increase their energy output to go “faster or better” but not “harder.” Adopting the high-energy, low-tension approach to life will enable you to perform better and reach your potential.
Key Tips for Thinking Clearly:
Key #1: Use stress to your advantage Key #2: Get in the flow
We have 80-100 billion brain cells, called neurons, in our brains, and each one has thousands of connections to other neurons. These connections are what enable us to think, learn, create, solve problems and build memories. Eating high quality, healthy-fat foods speeds up communication between neurons.
Key Tips for Eating Smarter:
Key #1: Hydrate
Key #2: Eat healthy fats
Key #3: Eat foods with more nutrients, fewer calories
Science has proven that even moderate levels of activity can boost creative inspiration and output by an average of 60%. As little as 15 minutes of exercise improves mental performance, so add this to your day before important tasks that you have to do. If you can start your day with a workout, you’ll prime your brain for excellence and help your brain to think more clearly.
Crescent’s Health and Wellbeing Program is led by Crescent alumnus and health advocate Dr. Greg Wells ’89. An assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Toronto, Dr. Wells has spent 20 years working as an exercise physiologist and sport scientist with some of the world’s best athletes. Now, he is applying the same principles he uses with Olympic athletes to help the students, faculty and staff at Crescent.