In addition to a healthy body, a healthy mind is intrinsically linked. Is it possible to improve a sharp mind by increasing physical activity? That’s what a new documentary sponsored by ASICS set out to find out.
During the Amazon Prime Video series “Mind Games – The Experiment,” four mind gamers kickstart an exercise program, including a chess master, memory game champion, esports competitor, and mahjong player. Regular exercise improved their performance in competition and boosted their brainpower.
Brendon Stubbs, a researcher in movement and the mind at King’s College London, who developed and led the experiment, explained how exercise benefits mental and physical health. He said, “We wanted to examine the effects of exercise on people who depend on their cognitive abilities as competitive mind gamers.”
The documentary featured American chess player Kassa Korley, esports competitor Sherry Nhan, Japanese mahjong player Ryoei Hirano, and English memory game competitor Ben Pridmore. However, there were 21 countries represented in the experiment.
Exercise is good for your brain, but these results were pretty impressive. The exercise regimen was based on their fitness levels. Their training program included 150 hours of medium-impact cardio and strength training per week, designed by Coach Kastor. Stubbs monitored their physical activity and measured their mental improvement through games, cognitive tests, and questionnaires.
The research shows that exercise may improve brain function as effectively as learning a new language, reading every day, learning a musical instrument, or solving puzzles daily. Stubbs said exercise boosts blood flow to the brain’s hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, which help you remember, process information, and solve problems quickly.
He said, “If an exercise can boost mental performance in professional mind gamers, imagine what it could do for the rest of us. Exercise improves brain power in many ways, from focus to alertness.”