| Children exercise at the Vasant Vihar Colony Brain Gym branch in Patna. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
The prospect of cracking a dozen or so arithmetic problems in a few minutes can cause many to break into a sweat but not 16-year-old Ayushi Gupta. The Class XI student of Delhi Public School claims she can solve at least 80 problems in five minutes.
The once “average” student credits her skills to Brain Gym, an international chain of centres that helps children with exercises to stimulate the brain. “I took admission to Brain Gym three years ago. Today I am surprised to see my own ability. When I got admitted to the centre, I was an average student. But soon I started getting good grades. I got CGPA 10 in my Class X examination,” she said.
The first centre of Brain Gym in the state opened seven years ago at Vasant Vihar Colony near Boring Road. At present, more than 300 children are studying there. Around 2,000 children are enrolled in all 21 branches of Brain Gym across the state, including 15 in Patna. The centre head at Vasant Vihar Colony, Sudha Jhunjhunwala, said: “We teach students a set of exercises to stimulate many areas in the brain responsible for storing and retrieving information. The exercises that we teach help the children enhance their memory and increase concentration level.”
Experts differ with claims to stimulate brain with exercises. Paediatrician Dr Arun Thakur said: “It has not been proved scientifically that certain exercises can help improve concentration level of a person. There is no literature on brain-related exercises.”
The children and their parents are, however, enjoying the experience at the Brain Gym centres though. Kshitij Bhartiya (8) can solve four-digit multiplication and division problems within 30 seconds. His mother Nupur Bhartiya said: “We enrolled him to Brain Gym two years ago. He has improved a lot since then.”