We all know that the level of fitness of your body directly affects the level of your athletic performance. But have you ever thought about how the fitness of your brain can have a huge impact too? And have you ever realised that training your brain could unlock your highest potential to give you your personal best and give you that edge over your competitors?
Whether it’s competitive team sports, martial arts, swimming, running, surfing, crossfit, tennis, yoga or weights at the gym, your brain and central nervous system play a huge part in how well you perform.
How is this so?
To give a quick recap on our biology, our central nervous system (CNS) consists of our brain and spinal cord. It is responsible for awareness, thinking, movement, speech and the 5 senses. The CNS communicates with our organs, nerves and other bodily systems through the peripheral nervous system (PNS).
When we train our brain, we train the central nervous system, and many aspects of its functions can improve in a desirable manner. We can experience:
- A higher tolerance to stress
- Deeper, more restful sleep for recovery
- Improved mental acuity
- Sharper focus
- More confidence
- Feeling calmer
- Better emotional resilience
- Reduced performance anxiety
When we think about the qualities needed to perform at our best, all the above mentioned will play a significant part in becoming the best you can be. More on that later.
Using NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback to train our brain:
NeurOptimal® is a dynamic and highly effective form of Neurofeedback brain training. It is safe, gentle and 100% natural.
A NeurOptimal® brain training session is very simple: While sitting or reclining, a few tiny sensors are attached to the scalp and ears, and relaxing music is played through headphones. The sensors read the brain’s electrical activity 256 times a second. When shifts in brain patterns are detected, feedback is given as a slight gap in the music, drawing your attention subconsciously to the present moment. Your brain uses this feedback to organise itself and self optimise, over time allowing unhelpful and pervasive thought patterns to become weaker, and to train to become fully present.
How does being fully present help athletic performance?
Your brain is the most intricate machine in the universe. Despite being only about 2% of your body weight, it is energy hungry, responsible for using 20 – 25% of your daily energy expenditure. We have about 18 billion neurons with about 100 trillion pathways between them.
Our life experience from when we were born has created countless pathways which govern our beliefs, thoughts, habits and reactions. Many of these pathways are unhelpful and unneeded such as self limiting beliefs, memories that hold us back and unnecessary worries about the future. It takes a lot of energy to keep all these pathways running! And as our brains are energy saving by nature, with so much going on, our efficiency isn’t what it could be.
One way to understand this, is as having many tabs open on your computer. Having too many tabs can cause the system to run slow. When we clear tabs and only have the current tap open, the computer can run smoother. Training your brain with NeurOptimal® is like closing the tabs. You can also think of it as running a disk defragmenter on your hard drive – once you do that, files are more organised, there is more space and things can run faster and more efficiently.
So, going back to the above desirable improvements , when we train our brains (close the tabs or defrag our minds), we can be more present. With more presence and less unnecessary subconscious thought patterns running through our minds we can experience:
- A higher tolerance to stress: Too much stress bogs us down and affects digestion, focus, energy, immunity and recovery. NeurOptimal brain training helps us deal more efficiently with daily stressors and has a calming effect on our nervous system. Better tolerance to stress can also assist with developing and maintaining discipline.
- Deeper, more restful sleep for recovery: Quality sleep is the foundation of good health. During sleep we heal and release human growth hormone which helps grow muscle, regulate body composition, and assists sugar and fat metabolism. But we all know those persistent thoughts can keep us awake or cause us to wake in the night or too early in the morning. Many clients report that sleep is one of the first things to improve with their NeurOptimal® training. This way our bodies are able to recover most effectively, ready to take on the next day.
- Improved mental acuity and focus and reaction time: A more organised brain can function better. Memory, concentration, and understanding at optimum speed for decision making can make all the difference when focusing on any task at hand, such as in combat sports, a tennis match or team sports.
- More confidence: A little performance anxiety may keep you on your toes, however when we become too anxious we cannot use the parts of our brain we need to think clearly and logically. Furthermore, when we can let go of perceived past failures or worries about what will happen, we can be free to act with more confidence.
- Emotional resilience and perserverance: Sometimes tough things can happen and things don’t work out the way we wanted them to. NeurOptimal® brain training can help us to become more emotionally resilient so we can reflect, take on lessons learned and keep going.
To sum it up:
Just like our bodies respond to exercise to become fitter and more efficient, our brains do too. If fitness for our brains can help us with our athletic performance with all the above qualities and more, think about what those qualities can do for all areas of life. NeurOptimal® could be the key you need to unlock your potential and reach that extra mile.
If you’d like to know more, Contact Us for more information. Book in a free 15 minute phone chat to see if NeurOptimal® brain training is right for you. We operate from Lake Macquarie, near Newcastle NSW and service Australia wide through a convenient and cost effective Rental option.