Monthly Archives: April 2009

Mental Aspects of Sport Performance

The common phrase “the game is 95% mental” is well known, but hardly respected at least as measured by the amount of time one works on the mental side of any sport. For those professional and amateur athletes who perform at the highest levels, the common thread to their excellence is the mastery of the mental part of their work or game.

I watched the Masters’ Golf Tournament and took away a deep appreciation again of the significance of the mental part of the game. Indeed, the mental part of the game can completely alter a highly proficient mechanical or physical part of the game. Consider the major leaguer who falls into a slump, a professional golfer who cannot hit a three foot putt, and the professional basketball player who cannot drain the fifteen foot foul shot. This is despite the fact that these professionals are the best on the planet and can achieve success at these tasks 98% of the time.

The Masters’ typically begins on Sunday and the last nine holes. This is the time when the mental aspect of the game really becomes paramount, though clearly the mental part of the golf game is always important. Perhaps it is the nearing of the end of the tournament, the amount of fame derived from winning this major tournament, or the fear of failure that cause the execution of the swing or putt to drift. Truly, the ability to put all of these and other mental distractions to the side and mentally focus on the execution of what the professional has done thousands of times represents the road to success and victory.

That the greatest athletes on the planet can be so affected, negatively and positively, by the mental energy and focus of the game is impressive. The human brain’s ability to harness and focus this energy, to not get distracted, to remain confident in the execution of the mechanics, and to see success will always be in the winner’s circle no matter what profession we are discussing.

Hit em straight!

…read more about brain health & fitness

BRAIN FITNESS GAMING SITE KEEPS MINDS FIT AND MOTIVATED

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Brain games and tools at FitBrains.com stimulate the brain to maintain peak brain fitness
while having fun playing casual games

VANCOUVER, Canada – Research has shown that brain health begins to lag as early as age 25. However, the same research has shown that with regular brain fitness training, the brain can create new neural connections and pathways at any age.

In response to this research, Vancouver’s Vivity Labs has created FitBrains.com, a new online brain fitness platform that hosts fun, casual games developed by brain fitness experts, specifically designed to exercise the brain and improve the five major cognitive brain functions – memory, concentration, language, executive functions (logic and reasoning), and visual-spatial skills.

The team behind FitBrains.com – including award-winning Neuroscientist Dr. Paul Nussbaum from the University of Pittsburgh and a board of scientific advisors – has created individual brain fitness workouts for players of all ages. More than fifteen brain games can be played for free, with daily and weekly brain fitness leader boards, a Brain Health Blog with top brain fitness tips, and a 30-day brain fitness chart for players looking to track their brain games progress and develop a competitive edge. A premium section of the site offers additional features like in-depth brain tracking charts and the ability to play against family and friends.

“FitBrains.com is designed to provide something for everyone who’s looking to improve their brain fitness,” Dr. Nussbaum said. “Our online brain games and tools use scientific principles to maximize brain fitness impact while providing a fun way to spend time playing casual games online.”

Michael Cole, founder and CEO of FitBrains.com, said fun and motivation were key factors in the design of FitBrains.com.

“We want to tap into as many motivational drivers that get individuals of all ages to integrate brain fitness work-outs into their daily life as we can,” Cole said. “With FitBrains.com, we provide the highest quality brain fitness gaming experience on the web. The site fuses the right balance between science and entertainment, which is critical for mass adoption. ”

For more information about how brain games can help improve brain fitness, please visit www.fitbrains.com

Spring into Healthy Lifestyle

Spring is a great time of the year as the winter season ends and new life emerges all around. For those of us who live in the winter belt it is quite refreshing to see the blue sky, the sunshine and absorb our vitamin D!

Spring is also a time for introspection and for beginning new behaviors to promote our own health. Brain health is such an important area and one that everyone can begin to focus with the new season. Perhaps with the advent of spring you can try the following to get started on your brain health lifestyle:

1.    Walk daily at least 30 minutes or 10,000 steps (purchase a pedometer to help keep count).

2.    Increase your intake of fish, fruits and vegetables.

3.    Tell someone you are sorry or forgive another where there may be some conflict.

4.    Engage in two tasks that are novel and complex.

5.    Reduce your stress by giving yourself free time this spring season.

6.    Try to do one group activity a week.

These are not too difficult and they will help to promote your general health and brain health for the 2009 year.

Good luck.

Spirituality and Brain Health

Spirituality has many meanings and it may mean something different to different people. I am  referring to spirituality as one means of turning inward to a peaceful existence and to remove oneself from the hurried society that is modern life.  Prayer/worship, meditation, and relaxation procedures are just three examples of spirituality.

Early research on the human brain exposed to life threatening stressors indicates there is similar damage to the hippocampus as is known to exist in animals. Also, humans with chronic anxiety have memory problems again supporting the negative effect of stress and uncontrolled anxiety on brain function.

Research and surveys have reported the following positive effects of spirituality on health:

  • An enhanced immune system, the system that helps you defend against colds, flu, and other illnesses.
    Reports of longer, happier and healthier lives.
  • As part of the daily routine while in the hospital relates to an earlier discharge.
  • According to a past Parade Magazine Survey, 95% of the physicians in the U.S. believe spirituality is   important to the well-being of their patients.

to learn more about more about Spirituality and Brain Health

Single Brain Cell may Help Paralysis

Recent research on monkeys indicates one brain cell may have the power to restore voluntary movement of paralyzed muscles. Nearly every neuron tested by scientists demonstrated the ability to activate muscles immobilized by drugs in monkeys.

Some suggest that if a monkey can learn how to harness the power of a single neuron to activate muscles that have paralysis, the effect should be even more powerful in humans. This research finding has significant implications for the hundreds of thousands of people with spinal cord injuries annually.

It is thought that some types of spinal cord injuries result in paralysis in which the person is fully conscious inside a body that does not respond to commands. While the brain activity that would normally result in voluntary movement is still present, the directions for such movement do not reach the muscle.

The current research on monkey brain cells suggests a potential therapeutic mechanism by bypassing the type of nerve damage that can result in such paralysis. The brain can learn to control new cells and use them to generate movements quickly. Creating electrical stimulation from new neuronal activation in muscles that are paralyzed represents a future oriented treatment direction for those who suffer paralysis.