5 Best Sports Which Will Surely Improve Your Brain Power

By Anna Clarke

January 10, 2024   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

5 Best Sports Which Will Surely Improve Your Brain Power

Fitness exercises have a lot of benefits to your physical and mental health. In addition to improved appearance, they also increase your blood flow. Facilitating the delivery of blood and nutrients to your brain. The stimulation of cognitive functions and the prevention of dementia are widely associated with being physically active and exercising on a regular basis. 

However, recent studies have also revealed that competitive sports can also improve your long-term memory and overall brain power. Thinking strategically, cooperating with your team, and making in-game decisions quickly seem to have a highly positive effect. Including improving your problem-solving skills and boosting the quality of life.

We have selected the 5 best sports that can improve your brainpower and make you more productive. 

1. Fencing

This sport is frequently called ‘physical chess’ due to its complexity and the need to make instant decisions. Fencing is mentally stressful since it requires good physical shape, perfect coordination, lightning-fast reactions, and extreme attention levels. 

Photo: babbel

Researchers characterize this type of sport as the ‘open motor skills’ type. Since you have to act in a highly unpredictable setting that constantly adds new challenges. This kind of brain-boosting experience cannot be obtained from traditional gymnastics or weightlifting. 

Different styles and techniques of your fencing partners make you analyze their thinking to predict new moves and attacks. Further improving your nonverbal analysis skills and helping you be a better negotiator. A 2014 study performed in Taiwan discovered that this sport could be especially beneficial to adult and senior athletes looking to improve or maintain their neural efficiency and mental flexibility. 

2. Martial Arts

Martial arts are another ‘battle-based’ physical activity that is highly suitable for people looking to increase their brainpower. According to multiple studies, martial art provides both attention training and attention state training. While the first trait is relatively well-known, the second one may be more interesting. 

Martial Arts
Photo: level3karate

Attention state training allows you to enter a state of heightened focus for prolonged periods of time. Which may be highly effective for closing that important deadline or maintaining long-term alertness in potentially threatful situations. The descriptions provided by researchers are highly similar to the state of ‘flow’ described by many neuro-linguistic programming and management experts. This possibly explains why many top performers, including the members of the British aristocracy, all shared a passion for boxing. 

Martial arts training also has a highly positive effect on working memory. Allowing practitioners to quickly recall information and instantly apply it. Some of these effects may be attributed to the ‘life-and-death’ nature of this type of sport. Where the brain considers the acquired skills critical for survival and operates in a ‘high-performance’ mode. Therefore, increasing and diversifying your brainpower and skills.

3. Tennis

Tennis has been highly popular with many individuals demonstrating outstanding mental prowess, including the legendary chess player Bobby Fischer. The interesting effect of this activity is the combination of instant brain-hands coordination patterns. The ‘delayed reactions’ of the ball require several seconds to get to the desired spot after a racket swing. 

Photo: nytimes

Forcing players to analyze opponents’ strategies in order to outsmart them and prevent them from repelling your attacks. This creates new neuron connections in your brain. Making it easier to build complex patterns and think strategically when making your life decisions off-court. 

Tennis can also increase spatial orientation in driving situations. Situations where people were appraising multiple moving objects and had to predict their future positions in advance to avoid road accidents. Regular tennis sessions were also reported to balance serotonin production allowing you to sleep better and have a more balanced emotional state. Therefore, tennis is an excellent sports choice for improving all areas of life.

4. Table Tennis

Table tennis is less demanding in terms of physical prowess, which makes it a good choice for senior athletes. It does not stress the joints since you are not required to sprint or make large movements. At the same time, table tennis provides most of the benefits of traditional tennis and adds more social interaction opportunities.

Table Tennis
Photo: tennisconnected

This sport also increases cognitive awareness. The effect is so powerful that a recent study suggested its capability to slow down or even prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This is similar to blitz chess where you are forced to make instant decisions. An experienced senior player can easily overpower an amateur younger opponent. Simply by using the developed brainpower to process the sensory information and translate it into micro-movements more efficiently. 

5. Chess, Board Games, and Electronic Sports

While board games and electronic games do not involve physical activities, they clearly have a positive effect on the brain. Influencing memory capacity, reaction, and intellectual capabilities according to multiple recent studies. Such mind sports as chess have been played for thousands of years and are utilized to develop strategic and abstract thinking. 

Chess, Board Games, and Electronic Sports
Photo: mammyoaklee

E-sports have a shorter history but have already been shown to have positive effects on motor and visual skills. As well as boosting the attention levels of both young and old players. While we would not suggest replacing physical activities with these games, they can be a perfect addition to the options analyzed earlier to further improve your brainpower. 

Whatever your choice of sport is, it is important to remember that you need to practice consistently in order to reap these benefits. Developing new skills takes time, which is why we would recommend joining a group or training with your friends or partners. 

It is generally better to exercise for shorter periods of time regularly rather than have long sessions once a week. Most modern sports centers also allow you to visit one or two training sessions free of charge to choose the best sport for you. This can be a good option if you are uncertain about your preferences. You might not want to spend money on expensive equipment before making a final decision. 

Please, keep in mind that chess, board games, and other non-physical activities are beneficial for your brainpower. They can be easily performed from the comfort of your home or help you enjoy your commuting periods without spending extra time. 

Anna Clarke

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