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As we enter a new year, I like to reflect on the past year and what that means for the one ahead. It’s been five years that I have been developing the brain fitness market, and have seen a lot of changes – both positive and negative. When I first started, there was minimal interest in the concept of exercising your brain. In the last two years however, there has been an explosion in interest from adults of all ages and media coverage and I have been interviewed by leading publications such as the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Women’s Health.
This has been great news for both the industry and the general public. We are witnessing a shift in society, and a general awareness about the importance of brain fitness. We saw a similar shift in the 1980s with the physical fitness movement. Researchers and the medical profession pushed the positive health benefits of physical activity, but it took a while for society to fully integrate physical exercise into daily life. Thanks to recent scientific research we now know that the brain is malleable and we can build brain connections at any age. Just ten years ago, this was not thought possible.
Nintendo has also helped open up the brain game market with their extremely successful Brain Age game. This has, of course, created numerous copycats and flooded the consumer market with one-off and weak products. Yet, I am thankful to Nintendo as they were able to bring awareness of brain games to the general public. They had seen the success of their game in Japan and realized there was an aging population worldwide. In addition, they had the resources to market Brain Age and tap into this underserved area. Many people in the scientific and brain fitness community scoff at their game, finding it scientifically weak and a disservice to the consumer. I would have to agree that their product is scientifically weak and I have many of my own complaints. However, Nintendo has hit on something that I understand. They implemented the concepts of “engagement” and “fun factor” and it is one of the main reasons for their success.
So, what does this mean for 2008 and the next five years? There are those who say that the brain fitness market is becoming saturated and is in its later stages. I have seen the market develop up until now, and couldn’t disagree more. Brain fitness is still in its infancy and will see real growth in the next five years. Awareness about brain fitness has now passed the tipping point but we are still falling short in the area of “adoption” into our daily lives. The companies that truly understand what individuals are looking for will be rewarded with enduring customer loyalty. For us at Fit Brains, we believe the “adoption” of brain fitness will be answered through “relevancy”, “motivation” and a “fun factor”. Yes, it is possible to have fun and be scientific too – it just hasn’t been done! Some doctors and people might argue this, but it’s the key to full integration into daily life. People don’t stick with things they don’t enjoy, especially things like long-term health goals that are often difficult to maintain. If we can make an important aspect of a daily routine more accessible and engaging, people will be more likely to do them.
The team here at Fit Brains is extremely excited about 2008! We plan to have our first launch very shortly. Fit Brains will provide a brain games, tools and features that is fun and engaging. We hope people of all ages adopt a brain fitness routine so that we can keep our most important asset strong and healthy!
Two recent studies show further evidence that both physical and brain exercise (e.g. brain games) have a positive impact on the brain. In the first study, USA Today reports “children who play vigorously for 20 to 40 minutes a day may be better able to organize schoolwork, do class projects and learn mathematics”. In the second study, the BBC reports, “a Dundee school took part in the project to show how computer games can enhance and build on classroom learning”. These studies illustrate the need for education systems to include more physical and mental exercise in the curriculum.
In the last several years, similar studies have been published that indicate the same holds true for adults. With a global aging population, both physical and brain fitness are important and need to be apart of our daily life. As a society, we should all make an effort to keep our bodies and minds functioning at a high level. For more information on these articles, click on the links below:
Hello and welcome to the first official Fit Brains’ blog! Let me introduce myself. I am Michael Cole, the founder and CEO of Vivity Labs, creator of Fit Brains.
Fit Brains is developing a web experience that will be the first of its kind, appealing to adults of all ages and will elevate the concept and acceptance of brain fitness to the mainstream. We will do this through a unique combination of interactive brain games, personalization tools and community features. Our team understands that the key ingredient for mass adoption of brain fitness will be the “fun factor”, and is developing scientifically based workouts that are engaging and fun.
Among other topics, the Fit Brains blog will discuss recent brain health news, allowing our readers to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. In addition, guest bloggers who are experts in their respective fields, will contribute to the discussions.
Stay tuned – Fit Brains will be adding a lot of exiciting brain games and features in the weeks ahead. I invite you to become an active member and help grow the Fit Brains community. Technorati Profile , Follow us on Twitter
Well, its official. Brain Fitness has gone mainstream. Nintendo has brought in A list actress, Nicole Kidman, to promote their brain fitness game on the Nintendo DS console.
Read the article in the BBC