Extreme sports athletes are known for their superb physical skills—agility, balance, coordination, endurance, flexibility, speed, strength, and power. They spend hundreds of training hours improving their skills and talents to perfection.
However, people tend to forget that an active and sharp mind is the key to a successful sports career. Whether in training or the actual game, athletes use their intellects to analyze moves and tactics and formulate a plan to defeat the opponent.
Studies show that an athlete’s brain is wired differently and works in a more complex way than non-athletes. Thus, it needs to be healthy, both chemically and physically. It’s prone to get mentally drained and exhausted.
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The brain doesn’t rest even when we sleep; it continues to function by regulating our breathing, heart rate, and all body systems. This happens more when it undergoes intensive work in practice and games, when exhaustion leads to mental blocks and dysfunctions.
Focus and brainpower are crucial to enhancing brain functions that give athletes their full mental capacity. Here are the six reasons why they’re vital to extreme sports athletes:
Better Drive, Personality, and Motor Control
The brain receives and processes information. In split seconds, it will generate commands and stimulate the musculoskeletal system for execution. The frontal lobe, the most anterior part of the brain, is responsible for one’s drive, personality, and motor control.
When extreme sports athletes are focused and have brainpower, neurons will surge, which quickly deliver messages to different body muscles. This can make them act hastily and even increase their agility and speed. They will also be more work-driven and display good traits.
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Better Sensory Input and Processing
The brain is also known as the body’s command center; specifically, the parietal, occipital, and temporal lobes are necessary for sensory integration such as hearing, touching, feeling, tasting, and smelling. When these sensory stimuli are perceived, the brain tells your body what it is, how you should react, or even activate the fight or flight response.
An athlete usually looks around to ponder his next move; better sensory input leads to more efficient and quick mental processing. When all senses are heightened, it’s guaranteed that the athlete will improve his overall mental and physical performance.
The brain’s hippocampus plays an integral part in memory integration. Apart from physical strengthening, the training sessions also entail studying and analyzing various tactics of other extreme sports athletes and developing new strategies and game plans given by the coaches.
Imagine taking a comprehensive examination at school. Like in sports, having good focus and brainpower will give an athlete the ability to remember and execute proper approaches and modify if needed.
Due to these continuous mind and body exercises, studies show that an athlete’s brain increases blood circulation, delivering a fresh oxygen supply; thus, it leads to improved memory and enhanced cognitive skills.
Enhance Other Brain Functions
Focus and brainpower greatly influence other brain functions. Training and in-game scenarios require mind flexibility to adapt to the opponents’ tactics and situational challenges and hurdles.
Brain functions can also be categorized based on the left and right hemispheres, as follows:
- Complex learning
- Calculations and numerical skills
- Holistic thinking
- Space and pattern perception
- Comparison of spatial relationships
- Identification and discrimination between different senses
Sports injuries are unpredictable and unpreventable. Varying factors can cause mild to severe injuries, too. Hence, many athletes undergo tactical training and physical therapy programs to learn various preventive measures.
The brain controls our thoughts, interprets various stimuli, and plans movement execution. Focus and brainpower are essential in making the athlete aware of his surroundings and alert most of the time to avoid the incoming impact that may cause injuries.
Many athletic careers have been affected and hampered due to injuries, especially fractures and permanent musculoskeletal damage.
Prevent Premature Aging and Neurodegeneration
Aging is a natural aspect of life and it’s irreversible. It comes with progressive cell degeneration that affects attention, memory, and other cognitive skills. However, focus and brainpower stimulate the neurons, increasing neural electroconductivity and blood circulation.
These cascades of events prevent premature aging and neurodegeneration. They can also reduce the risk of acquiring dementia and other mental problems.
All athletes require focus and brainpower; these two are the keys to a better overall athletic performance and guarantee a successful career. The brain adapts to various mind and body exercises, leading to many potential health benefits. As an athlete, you must adhere to various training and programs to sharpen your mind and be ready for the next game.