How Your Mind Can Keep Your Body Fit

How Your Mind Can Keep Your Body Fit

The mind plays an important role in fitness, exercise, and sports, almost as big as our cardiovascular system, strength, speed, and power.

Interview neuroscientist Dr. Bob Schafer to learn how habits and mindfulness can enhance our training. Also, what is more important: practice 10,000 hours or be born with the right genetics?

By Brock Armstrong

I have been trying various brain training regimens for a few years. But lately, I've really been researching a series of games that you play on your computer or mobile device for a few minutes a day, every day, to improve your cognitive function. Or at least that promises.

Lumos Labs conducted a randomized study of the Lumosity Brain Training System, and after ten weeks of training, users improved their working memory, short-term memory, processing speed, and overall cognitive function.

Cognitive function and fitness

Personally, aside from the fact that it's fun to feel like I'm taking a multivitamin for my brain while playing video games every day, Lumosity (and other available brain training systems) have shown some promising benefits in the field of exercise and sports.

In a recent article published in Frontiers in Psychology, scientists investigated the role of cognition and neuroscience in understanding, predicting, and potentially enhancing elite athletic performance. Even though that particular article said, "At this time, we warn against investing too much in such methods," I think it is a no-loss situation. Even if it doesn't help me get a faster time in my next triathlon, I'm still doing something better for my brain than watching reruns of The Simpsons.

Come in, Dr. Bob Schafer

Dr. Bob Schafer is Head of Research at Lumos Labs, and one of the brilliant minds behind Lumosity, the brain training program I have been using. Think of it as a gym for the mind.

Bob had his first experience with neuroscience in the Stanford laboratories, forged his knowledge during a postdoc at MIT, and then launched his own business to help people reveal and embrace their unique mental qualities. So yeah, he knows what he's talking about. You can also find his work published in top magazines like Science and Neuron.

Through his experience analyzing more than 5 billion mind games played by 100 million people, he says he has won this insight: "The world of science is still just scratching the surface of our understanding of the mind." .

In Bob's spare time, he loves to pursue his own potential by running marathons, raising a collection of tropical frogs, and being a new parent. This made him the perfect fit to be a guest on this interview, and I'm delighted to be able to choose his brain all over brains.

How Your Brain Keeps Your Body Fit

The mind plays an important role in fitness, exercise, and sports, almost as big as our cardiovascular system, strength, speed, and power.

Interview with neuroscientist Dr. Also, what is more important: practicing 10,000 hours or being born with the right genetics?

Form good fitness habits

For some people, the biggest challenge in staying fit is building a strong habit behind it. How do we form good habits?

  • To be successful, you must have the motivation to create the habit, the ability to make the change, and you need a trigger to remind you.
  • Find “triggers” in your environment where you can generate positive automatic responses.
  • Make sure to design your triggers when you have the best chance of success.
  • Get your representatives in! You have to repeat the habit, just like lifting weights.

Stay focused during training

I see a lot of people distracted in the gym, on the trails, and even during races / events. How can we stay focused in our workouts?

  • Bob tells the story of running while he was ruminating (angry) about his fantasy football league. It was a great way to make time go faster, but it negated the mental benefits of running.
  • Practice the ability to refocus on what matters. Your body, your environment, your self.
  • Be more attentive with your exercise practice.
  • Remember why you started the activity in the first place.

Is practice all it takes?

  • To really excel at a sport or any activity, do you just need to put in the 10,000 hours or is there more to it than that?
  • Is it 10,000 hours (Malcolm Gladwell) or is it the sports gene (David Epstein)? It's the nature vs. nutrition debate again.
  • Epstein is correct that your body makeup defines the amount of work you need to put in.
  • Gladwell is correct that most of the people at the top have logged thousands of hours of training.
  • What really matters is what happens one step before training: the mindset!
  • What did your sports heroes want to grind, work hard, feel the pain and still come back for more?
  • Carol Dweck talks about the “growth mindset” and that idea is a fundamental part of wanting to get the job done and going through the pain over and over again.

Habits, focus, and repetition are just scratching the surface of how our brains can play an important role in optimizing our fitness levels. But I think this is a great place to start. For my part, I'm going to start anchoring my desire to sit better on the triggers around my house, do more of my workouts without getting distracted, and dig much deeper into the "growth mindset." And of course, keep playing my mind games!

Video: The 5 Minute MIND EXERCISE That Will CHANGE YOUR LIFE! Your Brain Will Not Be The Same (October 2020).