Brain Tool #15: Swing


 Play Daily With These Steps to Boost Your Brain:

1. From a standing position, initiate a deep abdominal breath
2. Next, tap the chest at a moderate speed while counting (aloud or silently) “1-2-3-4″  Accent/emphasize count “1″
3. Then, transfer the tapping to the thighs while maintaining the “1-2-3-4″ count. This time, accent/emphasize counts ” 2″ and “4″
4. Finally, add the “step-together” dance step:
A.  Step to the right on (beat) ”1″, then bring the feet together on  “2″
B. Step to the left on “3″, then bring the feet together on “4″
C. Repeat the right to left “step-together” sequence feeling the natural groove
5.  Now, swing your arms to the right/left when the feet come together (i.e. step-together to the right and arms swing right.  Step-together to the left and arms swing left). You will notice that the feet come together and the arms swing naturally on beats”2″ and “4″!
6.  Vary the direction of your swing (stepping forward/back as well as side/side). Allow your head and torso to “groove” with your swing!

Swing Applications to Develop Flexible Thinking:

1. Use the “swing” as a movement break at work, home, or school
2. “Swing” while trying to solve a problem
3. “Swing” to some “swing” music to unleash creative thinking 01 Chattanooga Choo Choo
4.  Vary the speed/direction of your swing (without stopping your swing!) to energize your brain
5. Swing and sing (anything)!

What’s Unique About This Brain Tool:

1. The rhythmic repetition of the swing movement induces the release of serotonin, which calms and soothes the brain
2. The rhythmic repetition of the swing induces “entrainment” — synchronization of brain activity from left to right (cortical hemispheres) as well as bottom (lower and midbrain) to top (cortex)
3. Rhythmic movement with improvised variations can strengthen the aging brain
4. The swing rhythm is more “harmonious” biologically to the natural syncopation of the heart (Credit: Finding Healing Music in the Heart, Corey Kilgannon, November 4, 2004,  New York Times)

For more information on the power of rhythm and your brain, go to: www.rhythmandthebrainproject.com