Does regular physical training improve brain performance and well-being? This thesis was examined in the worldwide experiment “Mind Games”. A sporting goods company packed the results into an entertaining documentary in January 2022 – including modern-day geniuses.
According to the study, exercise improves cognitive abilities and increases mental performance. From a better short-term memory to an increase in the ability to concentrate – movement promotes brain performance and also increases well-being. As an example of the results, four mental athletes were accompanied for months during the experiment for a documentary film.
The documentary “Mind Games – The Experiment” will be available to stream online via Prime Video on January 19, 2023. You can watch the trailer here.
Kassa Korley told FOCUS online: “Participating in Mind Games was of great benefit to me. Especially during the pandemic, I had lost muscles during the time in New York and also stagnated with my chess development. Then Asics came with the experiment and introduced me “I had a coach at my side who challenged me with regular physical units. Cardio training, running and push-ups helped me to perform at my best in my often four to five-hour chess games. For me, pushing again at the end is comparable with the will to do another push-up. Within a very short time I shot up the rating.”
The experiment ran from May to September 2022. 77 brain teasers from 21 countries took part. The training program included moderate-impact cardio and strength training. The workload was increased from zero to 150 minutes per week in some cases, and the mental improvement of the subjects was recorded based on their performance in puzzles, cognitive tests and well-being questionnaires.
“We all know that exercise is good for our mental and physical health, but its impact on cognitive function has been less explored. We wanted to investigate the effects of exercise on people who rely on their mental performance – competitive brainteasers. Our Results show that their cognitive abilities, including the ability to concentrate and problem-solving skills, improve significantly,” commented the experiment’s leader, Brendon Stubbs, on the results.
“Exercise stimulates cell growth in the brain and rapidly increases blood flow to the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex mechanisms that enable us to retain memories better, process information, and solve problems faster. When exercise can significantly increase the intellectual capacity of professional brainteasers So what can it mean for each and every one of us? Whether it’s helping you focus better when preparing for an exam or increasing your awareness before a presentation at work, exercise can actually boost brain power.”
According to the study, the mental well-being of the mental athletes also increased: the values for the state of mind increased by an average of 31 percent. “These results are amazing and speak for the power of exercise. At the beginning of the study, many of the players were unable to jog for more than a minute. Therefore, their training programs had to be moderate. 150 minutes a week sounds like a lot at first , but when you break it down it’s the equivalent of five 30-minute sessions, which means the mental benefits of sport are available to everyone, regardless of fitness level,” said athletic director Andrew Kastor.