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Asics research project shows sport improves ability to cope with stress and reduces frustration

Physical activity provides emotional uplift and improves cognitive performance

Photo by: Dominic Marley / Asics

Triathletes are all-too-aware of the emotional and physical benefits of sport – now an initial feasibility study by Asics for a “research project into the positive impact of sport on mental wellbeing” has provided some concrete data to support what we’ve all known.

The initial study by Dr. Brendan Stubbs from King’s College in London, England, with a group of amateur and elite athletes including Olympic runner turned triathlete Beth Potter (pictured) “measured a series of brain pathways known to influence the emotional and cognitive elements of mental wellbeing.”

The study found that “after a short amount of physical activity, the everyday athletes experienced an overall emotional uplift, including up to a 29% improvement in their ability to cope with stress and up to an 18% increase in their relaxation levels. They also reported a significant drop in negative emotions like frustration (up to 135%) and were up to 28% less prone to making rash decisions and reacting negatively to challenges or disruption.”

Cognitive performance was also seen to be improved after sports activity, including “a 26% increase in brain processing speed, up to a 21% improvement in memory and as much as a 58% reduction in their levels of cognitive stress, some of the symptoms of which are anxiety, forgetfulness and disorganisation.”

According to the study, the emotional and cognitive benefits were greater for the “everyday” athletes than the elites.

This year Asics will continue the research “to capture the true effect of sport on the minds of thousands of participants around the world.”

Moving Minds at Sunrise

Asics has started a campaign to encourage athletes to “move at sunrise,” encouraging people to take a “sunrise selfie and upload to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with #SoundMindSoundBody.” You can also use the Asics Runkeeper app to take part in the “Move with the Sun Challenge.”


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A post shared by Sarah Renshaw (@sarahrunshaw)