Improving Your Reaction Time

Like to improve your reaction time? Why would that be important?

Most people know Usain Bolt as the fastest man in the world, setting the 100m sprint record of 9.58sec and 200m sprint record of 19.19sec back in 2009. However, few people will recall the name Yohan Blake, whose second place records are only 0.11sec and 0.07sec behind Bolt’s. For these men, reaction time is everything.

However, reaction time is probably not something the average person would contemplate on a day to day basis. But what if you were a keen social tennis player and wanted to up your game, or an older person who wanted to feel more steady on your feet? Both situations, require improvement in reaction time to get the desired outcome.

Study shows improved reaction time with Chiropractic Care

One study looked at reaction and response time in Special Operation Forces (SOF) in the US military. The study took place at Fort Campbell in the USA. The 120 participants had little or no pain and were essentially fit and in good health. They were divided randomly into 60 who received chiropractic care and 60 into a control group who received no care.

A single chiropractic visit was shown to have an immediate effect of reducing the time required for the participants to complete a complex whole-body motor response task.

What does this mean?

To date there are only a few studies that look into the effect of chiropractic care on reaction time; so this study is very interesting but not conclusive, with many weaknesses noted in the study. It would appear though, that an adjustment does impact on the way the brain and nervous system detects and responds to our environment.

Want to see how this works on an NFL athlete

To see the difference, check out this video with world class NFL receiver Marvin Hall. The changes are compelling and impressive.

How can you improve your reaction time?

What you don’t use, you lose. Frequent activities that challenge your balance and reaction time are needed to prevent deterioration over time. Here are some ideas the may help:

  1. Regular physical exercise: Engaging in physical activities that require quick reactions, such as playing sports, can help improve reaction time. Exercises like agility drills, plyometrics, and sports-specific drills can be particularly effective.
  2. Cognitive training: Engaging in activities that challenge your cognitive abilities can also improve reaction time. This can include brain-training games, puzzles, or activities that require quick decision-making.
  3. Eye-hand coordination exercises: Practicing activities that enhance eye-hand coordination can improve your ability to react quickly. Examples include juggling, playing catch, or using coordination-based training tools.
  4. Balance training: Maintaining good balance is crucial for reacting swiftly. Exercises like yoga, tai chi, and balance boards can help improve balance and, subsequently, reaction time.
  5. Proper nutrition and hydration: A well-balanced diet and adequate hydration support overall brain and body function, which can positively impact reaction time.
  6. Sleep and rest: Sufficient sleep is essential for optimal cognitive function and reaction time. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to help maintain alertness and quick thinking.
  7. Reduced distractions: Minimise distractions in your environment while practising activities that require quick reactions. Create a focused and quiet space to enhance your ability to react swiftly.

Remember, improving reaction time takes consistent effort and practice over time. For more help, speak with our chiropractors or consult with Joel, our Exercise Scientist.

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