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How Your Brain Keeps Your Body Fit

The mind plays a large role in fitness, exercise, and sports—almost as large as our cardiovascular system, strength, speed, and power. Get-Fit Guy interviews neuroscientist Dr. Bob Schafer to learn how habits and mindfulness can improve our training. Plus, which is more important: practicing 10,000 hours or being born with the right genetics?

By
Brock Armstrong
Episode #428
Photo of an athlete concentrating.

I've been trying out various brain training regimens for a few years now. But lately, I've been really digging into a series of games that you play on your computer or mobile device for just a few minutes a day, every day, to boost your cognitive function. Or so it promises.

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

Cognitive Function and Fitness

Personally, aside from it being fun to feel like I'm taking a multivitamin for my brain by playing videos games every day, Lumosity (and other brain training systems available) have been showing some promising advantages in the field of exercise and sport.

I'm still doing something better for my brain than staring at reruns of The Simpsons.

In a recent paper published in the Frontiers in Psychology, scientists investigated the role of cognition and neuroscience in understanding, predicting, and potentially improving elite sports performance. Although that particular paper stated “we caution around investing too heavily in such methods at this point in time” I feel like it is a no-lose situation. Even if it doesn’t help me bust out a faster time in my next triathlon, I am still doing something better for my brain than staring at reruns of The Simpsons.

Enter, 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 like a gym for the mind.

Bob got his first taste of neuroscience in the Stanford labs, forged his knowledge during a postdoc at MIT, then launched his own business to help people reveal and embrace their unique mental qualities. So, yeah, he knows what he is talking about. You can also find his work published in top journals like Science and Neuron

Through his experience analyzing over 5 billion brain games played by 100 million people, he says that he has gained this insight: "The science world is still barely scratching the surface of our understanding of the mind."

In Bob’s spare time, he loves chasing his own potential by running marathons, raising a menagerie of tropical frogs, and being a new father. This made him the perfect fit to be a guest on this podcast, and I am thrilled to be able to pick his brain all about brains.

To get the full story, you’ll need to listen to the podcast but here is the low down:

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About the Author

Brock Armstrong

Brock Armstrong is a certified AFLCA Group Fitness Leader with a designation in Portable Equipment, NCCP and CAC Triathlon Coach, and a TnT certified run coach. He is also on the board of advisors for the Primal Health Coach Institute and a guest faculty member of the Human Potential Institute. Do you have a fitness question? Leave a message on the Get-Fit Guy listener line. Your question could be featured on the show. 

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