There has been a lot of attention given recently to the high tech brain workouts that elite athletes use to improve performance. Companies such as Neurotopia have developed brain-training software that can boost performance by sharpening the mind and increasing focus. Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh-Jennings is just one of a number of athletes who don a brain wave sensor at the company’s facility to control a videogame with their brain. There are also many general brain-training resources available online from companies like Luminosity and www.mypillapp.com.
So can the weekend warrior and non-elite athlete benefit from brain training? Absolutely. No matter what sport you participate in, exercising the brain can yield improvement. Training the brain for better athletic performance falls into three main areas: Execution, Focus, and Decision Making. The following low-tech approaches can be done anywhere for absolutely no cost.
Visualization for Better Execution
The basis for success in sports is the ability to flawlessly execute basic skills. Whether it is hitting, kicking or shooting a ball, swinging a club, or other specific movement, proficiency must be achieved. While nothing can replace physical practice, skills can be enhanced through visualization training.
Many may be familiar with the study in which students were tested on free throw ability: one group was instructed to practice free throws an hour a day; another group told to visualize making shots; and another group did nothing. After 30 days the group that practiced an hour a day and the visualization group saw the same performance improvement (about 25% accuracy increase).
Visualization takes imagination. One must be able to mentally see, hear and experience the sensations of the specific technique or game situation. To be effective, it is important to visualize the activity in the first person (as opposed to “watching” yourself performing). An example visualization script I’ve used with success to improve my tennis stroke:
In the mind’s eye fully visualize the court, including the surface, colors, and surroundings, even a hitting partner.
See the ball coming across the net as you move and set-up the shot. Hear and see the ball bouncing as you take your racket back and execute the stroke. Feel and hear the impact through the hitting zone and watch as the ball leaves the racket and successfully goes over the net.
Be specific with the placement of the shot you are hitting and always imagine successful outcomes. One might practice cross-court strokes and then move onto hitting to other areas of the court.
Also “watch” your hitting partner’s movements and reaction. See yourself moving back to the middle of the court to prepare for the next shot.
Practice hitting different strokes:
slice, topspin, and flat shots just as you would use in a game.
This basic approach can be used for any sport or physical activity. One can often find performance scripts online. Beyond working on mechanics, visualization training is also great for preparing for game situations. For basketball one might work on receiving an outlet pass and pulling up for a jump shot, or in soccer volleying home a goal on a corner kick.
Visualization is not just beneficial for ball sports. Bobsledders visualize going down the course before every run. Cyclists, runners and swimmers can work on better technique. Top triathletes even visualize their transition sequences.
Concentration Exercises For Better Focus
Today’s technology-oriented world has left many with mild ADHD. While in some ways this can be helpful for managing busy lives, in sports the ability to focus and stay in the moment is a trait all world-class athletes share. Whether it is performing in the clutch or fighting through physical and mental fatigue to make it to the finish line, the ability to focus regardless of distraction is crucial for success.
The mind naturally likes to wander, so focus and concentration training generally involves performing a relatively simple task non-stop for a specific duration of time. One easy example is to use number squares. These are simple five by five grids with the numbers 1 through 25 randomly distributed in the boxes.
The exercise is to cross out boxes in order as quickly as possible. Sounds simple, right? It is, but it takes concentration. Start in a quiet environment then add to the challenge by completing them in places where there are more distractions. Then you can do multiple boxes in a row. If you find yourself without a set of squares, open a book or magazine and count the words in a paragraph or article.
Improved Decision Making
Team and racket sports require participants to constantly take in information and react. This process primarily takes place in the frontal lobe area of the brain, which controls planning, movement, reasoning and problem solving. Just like skill development, improving on-field decision-making is best done participating in the sport itself, however this part of the brain can be exercised and developed, much like general fitness training benefits performance.
Games and puzzles, like chess, poker, sudoko, and crosswords are the easiest ways to train the frontal lobe portion of the brain, and they work out all the functions that are crucial for strong sports performance. In addition to these more cerebral activities, electronic games like Simon and Bop-it can also be beneficial. These require one to react to stimuli and help develop the brain’s processing speed.
Elite athletes aren’t the only ones who can utilize brain workouts to improve sports performance. Execution, focus and decision-making can all be enhanced by regularly practicing these simple no-cost exercises. You’ll also likely find the increased concentration and mental agility will help other aspects of your personal and professional life as well.
Sports, whether you play in a team or just individual, it’s really a great game activity for children that offer a wide range of pros or benefits. Partaking in sports can assist to gain great confidence and self-reliance, can encourage children to stand out mentally and can help to promote social skills. Involvement also can teach children lots of advantages of perfect goal-setting and practice.
How Sports Help Kids
There are several important reasons to get your kids to participate in sports activity, and all children can get plenty of benefits from partaking in athletics. The great impacts of childhood involvement in sports go far away from the physical and can prepare a child mentally, emotionally and socially.
The most noticeable advantage of playing a sport is your physical. With the popularity of inactive indoor activities such as video games, computers, and television, partaking in prepared athletic activities is often the only physical activity children boast. This makes involvement in prepared sports more and more vital. Some of the physical advantages of kids playing sports comprise:
Healthier Coordination and Balance
Children who take part in sports learn before time and get perfect control of their bodies. This positive impact helps children to have better and healthier coordination and balances. Kids who widen these skills also grow the neural trails to reinforce them, and the positive impacts can work for the long run.
Augmented Strength and Endurance Power
Taking part in sports helps children to fortify muscles which promotes an overall boost in strength and endurance. Furthermore, sports usually entail various types of movements that comprise both swift moves and sluggish, stable movement. Sports can assist your kids to expand and toughen both types of muscles.
Brings Positive Changes in Body
Doing exercise is a vital part of maintaining your fitness and healthy body. Healthy body composition can also assist children to protect against diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and metabolic condition.
Most of the parents are not aware of the positive emotional benefits that mainly origin from youth involvement in sports. Emotional benefits of youth athletics consist of:
Stress Cutback and Positive Effects on Mood
Kids who take part in sports can ward off their stress and violent behavior on the playing ground. These can consequence in reduced prevalence of depression, decreased stress and perked up moods.
Regular partaking in athletics can assist to boost young minds by involving ingenious and strategic thoughts, along with augmented attention and awareness. However, most sports entail some type of achieving, which can help kids to hone their mental math talents and abilities.
The social benefits only are the main reason to hearten your kids to take part in athletics. Kids understand numerous social benefits from partaking in sports.
Decrease Rates of Drug Use and Reduce Teen Pregnancy
Kids who take part in sports are less prone to use drugs and alcohol. Girls who take part in sports are also less prone to become teen mothers for the same reasons.
Better Leadership Skills
Sports involvement builds well-built leaders. The leadership skills achieved in sports can assist children to do extremely well in school, life and in the workplace.
These are all benefits that kids understand from taking part in sports. However, sports participation plays a crucial role in a child’s growth and development.
Name: Keelan Poole
Team: University of North Dakota (College Football)
Charges: Possession of Marijuana With Intent to Deliver, Possession of Cocaine and Cocaine Paraphernalia
University of North Dakota linebacker Keelan Poole was arrested (May 2017) in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
According to the Grand Forks Herald, Poole allegedly received large amounts of marijuana in the mail. Police searched his residence on Thursday (May 11, 2017) and found a small amount of marijuana wax, 4-5 grams of marijuana, a digital scale box, $3,655 and a plate with a white substance that tested positive for cocaine.
Poole was suspended indefinitely from the team following this incident.
Name: Mitchell Thompson
Team: Amherst College (College Football)
Arrested For: Operating Under the Influence (OUI), a Crosswalk Violation
Amherst College assistant coach Mitchell Thompson was arrested on Friday (May 12, 2017) in Northampton, Massachusetts.
According to westernmassnews.com, Thompson was pulled over around 11:45 p.m. for failing to stop for a pedestrian at a crosswalk. During the traffic stop, police allegedly witnessed signs of impairment and could smell alcohol coming from vehicle. Thompson allegedly failed a sobriety test and refused to take a Breathalyzer test.
Name: Oshay Dunmore
Team: Southern Oregon University (College Football)
Charges: Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
Southern Oregon University linebacker Oshay Dunmore was arrested on Saturday (April 29, 2017) in Eugene, Oregon.
According to The Register-Guard, Dunmore was arrested following a traffic stop. Police allegedly found a pistol in the glove box and a semiautomatic rifle in the trunk of a vehicle driven by Dunmore.
Dunmore pleaded not guilty on Tuesday (May 16, 2017).
Dunmore, 23, was suspended from the football program following this incident.
Here are fat-burning stool routines, HIIT style (high intensity interval training). Warning: These HIIT stool routines are not for the poorly conditioned or for people with “bad” knees. If you want to melt puddles of fat and at the same time, enjoy strenuos exercise, you’ll love these high intensity interval training stool workouts.
I’m a certified personal trainer, and I have only my fittest clients doing these HIIT stool workouts. The height of the apparatus can vary, and you can also use a standard weightlifting bench. However, I prefer stools because this is what stools are for, versus trying to get an available bench when someone wants to use it for weightlifting. Stools are also more stable.
In general there are three standard heights of plyometric (jumping) apparatus. The following HIIT routines are to be done on the lowest stool, which is between one and one and a half feet high.
Hold a 45 pound plate or dumbbell in each hand. The metal plates are a hassle to hold onto sustained, due to their design, but the rubber-covered plates have “openings” where you can more easily grip.
Step up and down on the apparatus 10 times, as fast as possible, with the right leg while holding the weights. As fast as possible. After 10 times, switch legs with no rest in between the switch, and repeat – as fast as possible. Plus, each time you step up, straighten leg all the way; don’t just get the foot up there and then quickly come down; actually extend the knee so that you have a straight leg, foot fully on the stool, before coming down.
Do this as quickly as possible for high intensity interval training, 20 step-ups total, holding 45 pound weights, and you will be heaving at the end.
Next HIIT stool routine: Do the same thing as previously described except alternate legs. Step as quickly as possible. Try not to hesitate, especially when both feet are on the floor. Move rapidly!
Next HIIT stool routine: Holding 35 pound plates or dumbbells, do the “lunge step.” This is the technique used in step aerobics classes. Ask a step aerobics instructor to demonstrate if the following description is not clear:
A lunge step begins with both feet on the stool. Keeping left foot atop apparatus, lower right foot to floor and just tap ball of foot to floor while keeping left foot on stool. Immediately after right foot touches floor, bring right foot back onto stool and immediately bring left ball of foot down to tap floor, then quickly bring it back atop apparatus.
Do this rapidly enough so that there is no pausing in between touch-downs. If the lunge step is done fast enough, it lookes like scissors or switch jumping when the legs are alternated. Do this while holding the 35 pounders. Warning: Done rapidly requires athletic ability; many people will be prone to stumbling. Make sure feet always land squarely on stool rather than on its edge.
Do 10-14 lunge steps each leg, and at the end you should be out of breath.
Final HIIT stool workout is without weights. Straddle the apparatus, then with both feet at same time, jump up on it (from straddle position), but then immediately return to start position (straddling stool). Do this as fast as possible: From straddle position, jump atop, jump off, jump atop, jump off, back and forth very rapidely for 30 seconds.
So here are three HIIT routines with a stool, but do any combination or order of them for a total of eight cycles, with a few minutes of passive rest in between, and your body will burn fat like crazy.
The following Ayuvedic herbs can help in maintaining healthy joints, especially among the aging individuals and those suffering from diseases like arthritis and gout, known for crippling the joints.
Shallaki – Boswellia Serrata (Indian Frankincense)
Shallaki has been used by Ayurvedic physicians for centuries for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, low back pain, etc, because of its potent anti-inflammatory action. The boswellic acids in Shallaki are responsible for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic action. Leukocyte elastase and oxygen radicals are also neutralized to lessen inflammation, increase mobility, and ameliorate morning stiffness. Research indicates that Shallaki helps to lubricate the entire joint structure. Shallaki is effective in shrinking inflamed tissues, improving blood supply to the joints and restoration of the integrity of blood vessels, thereby decreasing the pain and the swelling in the joints.
Guggulu – Commiphora Mukul (Guggul)
Guggulu contains Guggulsterones have been proven to exhibit potent anti-inflammatory action, which makes it indispensable in treatment of joint pain naturally, without the side effects of modern pain-killers. Guggulu has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to treat arthritis and obesity.
Nirgudi – Vitex Negundo (Chinese Chaste Tree)
Nirgudi contains alkaloids, which exhibit anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain suppressing) properties through the inhibition of prostaglandin (PG) synthesis. Prostaglandins are a group of lipids which cause the inflammatory response to injury and production of vasodilatation, fever, and pain.
Adhraka – Zingiber Officinale (Ginger)
Gingerol, the active compound in Adhraka stimulate peripheral circulation to the extremities resulting in a warming effect on the body and joints. Adhraka also exhibits significant anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain suppressing) action, through the inhibition of prostaglandin (PG) synthesis, thus providing significant relief from joint pain, naturally. Ayurvedic practitioners rely on Adhraka as a “carrier” herb that enables other herbs to react more effectively in the body.
Ashwagandha – Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha)
Ashwagandha contains steroidal lactones (withanolides, withaferin) and heterogeneous alkaloids which contribute significantly to its adaptogenic, immunomodulatory, and anti-inflammatory properties that impart a rejuvenating effect on the body and improve the flexibility of joints. Ashwagandha also provides restorative benefit to the nervous system and helps in relaxing muscles.
Pippali – Piper Longum (Long Pepper)
Its fruits are used as an analgesic for muscular pains and inflammation. Pippali contains large number of alkaloids and related compounds, which stimulate the release of metabolic heat energy in the body and has a marked anti-inflammatory activity which is helpful in treating joint pains.
Devadaru – Cedrus Deodara (Deodar Cedar)
It contains number of flavonoids and alkaloids, which increase peripheral blood circulation, tone the muscles, and exhibit muscle relaxant activity which ultimately helps in improving joint movement and mobility.
Ajamoda (Trachysspermum Ammi)
Ajamoda has been used for centuries by Ayurvedic physicians to treat rheumatic conditions such as joint pains, Arthritis, backache, sciatica. It is also known for its analgesic and diuretic properties, and is also used for treating cough and uterine disorders.
Rasna (Pluchea Lanceolata)
The decoction of the plant has been used by traditional Ayurvedic physicians to prevent the swelling of joints in arthritis, rheumatism and neurological diseases. The plant is used for treating inflammation and bronchitis, cough, psoriasis, piles. Massage with Rasna oil is beneficial in treating swollen and painful joints. Rasna is known for reducing the inflammation and stiffness of the joints by restoring the proper functions of the biological components and maintaining the flexibility and healthy state of the joints; and also the stability of the connective tissues.
Many herbs have medicinal qualities and are safe and effective to use. Many can be found in your local pharmacy or health food store or as plants at your local grower.
Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
The flowers of the chamomile plant are used for appetite stimulation, bronchitis, excessive menstruation with cramps, fever, gastrointestinal cramps, hysteria, inflammation, insomnia, nervousness, rheumatic disorders, and parasites.
Devils Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)
The root of the devil’s claw plant is used for arrhythmias, arteriosclerosis, arthritis, blood cleansing, diabetes, hypertension, liver disease, lowering cholesterol, rheumatism, stomach disorders, and strengthening the bladder and kidneys.
Garlic (Allium sativum)
A garlic bulb can be useful for asthma, cancer immunity, diabetes, digestive disorders, ear infections, flatulence, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, and infectious diseases.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
The root of the ginger plant is used for childhood diseases, colds, colic, dizziness, fever, flu, gas pains, headache, indigestion, morning sickness, nausea, poor circulation, toothache, and vestibular disorders.
Ginseng (Panax spp.)
The root of the ginseng plant is good for age spots, blood diseases, depression, hemorrhage, increasing endurance and longevity, and stress. It is also used as an aphrodisiac.
Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
Lavender flowers, leaves, and oil are used for acne, bile flow stimulation, diabetes, edema, flatulence, hyperactivity, insomnia, intestinal spasms, migraine headaches, and stimulating menstrual flow.
Lemon (Citrus limon)
The fruit and peel of a lemon are used as an astringent, refrigerant, and source of Vitamin C.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
The lemon balm plant can be used as an antispasmodic and sedative. It is also used for Grave’s disease and cold sores.
Safflower (Cahamus tinctorius)
The flowers of the safflower plant are used for fever, gout, inducing sweating, measles, rheumatism, scarlet fever, and sedation. It is also used as an aphrodisiac and expectorant.
Tea Tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Tea tree oil is used for acne boils, burns, Candida infections, cold sores, joint pain, skin disorders, staphylococcal and streptococcal infections, and sunburn. It can also be used as a douche for trichomonal cervicitis and vaginal candidiasis.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
The flowers of the yarrow plant are used for bowel hemorrhage, colds, fever, flu, hypertension, inducing sweating, measles, mucosal inflammation with discharge, nosebleed, reducing heavy menstrual bleeding and pain, thrombosis, and topical hemostasis.
Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus)
The root of the yellow dock plant can be used for anemia, blood cleansing, constipation, itching, liver congestion, rheumatism, skin problems, and eyelid ulcerations. It can also be used as a dentrifice.
Yucca (Yucca glauca)
The root of the yucca plant is used for arthritis, colitis, hypertension, migraine headache, and rheumatism.