Maintaining and Improving Your Reflexes

Fast hands
Fast hands (Photo credit: melissajonas)

Reflexes, as well as response time are not always generic. There are various ways to help improve them. The response time of both skill depends greatly on our physiological and mental state. However developed our skills are, the big problem is maintaining it. There are counter productive factors in our lifestyle that are holding us back: Stress, poor diet, lack of nutritional intake and sleep. Levels of stress can vary, but one thing is for sure. They all amplify the need for vices, as well as overeating. Vices, such as regular alcohol intake can intoxicate our system. It leads the person being unusually passive, argumentative, and preoccupied. Furthermore, if dependent, it can hinder functions such as routines because excessive use triggers oversleeping and lack of concentration in tasks.

Overeating is unhealthy because it is a compulsive fact that deteriorates your health and feelings. Compulsive eaters make themselves feel more depressed in the end, because of the amount they indulge, following the regret afterwards. Overeating depresses the system. Being able to feel good is the essence of mental fitness. Sleep on the other hand affects memory and learning.

Our body needs seven to eight hours of quality sleep to recuperate, and further progress. Symptoms such as fatigue, blurry vision, drowsiness have a serious impact on response time and accuracy. Lack of sleep plays a big role in difficulty to make good decisions. Professionals suggest taking power naps to combat symptoms, as well  as  reduce stress, drowsiness, and increase productivity. Although this cannot eliminate all problems, it helps increase our readiness. Proper nutrition, accompanied with productive lifestyle factors will dramatically improve your reflexes. Now, we should think about the process involved to get faster reflexes. The 3 parts of the complete reflexive action are as follows:
1. Recognition – This is when you first begin to realize the stimulus or threat.  Let’s say you see a basketball flying,  and its about to hit your face.  The moment you see the ball is your recognition.

2. Evaluation – It begins after you recognize the stimulus. This is the time it takes you to decide on what to do, catch ,dodge, or do nothing.

3. Execution – This is the phase where your body executes your decision and how fast it is.

There are various ways to help improve your reflexes. Experts say that the best reflexive actions are those trained in muscle memory. It is the act of repetitively performing an action to achieve an involuntary movement that follows a pattern towards a specific situation. The training involved is beneficial because your brain stores the movement involved, creating muscle memory through repetition. Thus, rendering your task(s) to be performed without conscious effort. However, muscle memory does not judge whether we do things  correctly or not. When you keep on practicing the wrong things, you build a muscle memory to it. There is a reason why people say “You might get used to that”. This makes it even harder to adjust.

These are  few of the many methods to improve your reflexes:

1. Train with a ball – You can use a Basketball, or any ball that comes close in that size. What you have to do is bounce the ball off the ground and catch it. That’s it? No. The main drill is to bounce the ball off the wall and try to catch it. When it gets too comfortable, increase the velocity of throwing the ball, as well as how close you are to the wall. That marks the difficulty level of your task. This exercise trains you to think when you don’t have time to do so.

2. Play video games – Yes! This really helps increase your hand-eye coordination as well as the 3 reflexive action. Although not all, there are games that are designed to exercise the brain. Imagine applying the reflex cycle in a fighting game. Each move your opponent makes triggers the cycle. The huge amount of focus needed to retaliate the numerous punches and kicks your opponent throws can really make someone go nuts.

3. Strengthen your peripheral vision – Having good peripheral vision is very important to improve reflexes. There are numerous exercises that professionals suggest. The simplest method I discovered is to simply focus on a distant object without breaking from it. See as much as you can from the corners of you eyes. Concentrate on the center while trying to identify the objects at both sides. It can be awkward at first because it feels like straining your eye. You don’t have to be tedious in doing this. Practice a little everyday and take breaks.

4. Run through unfamiliar terrain – Running itself is a good exercise for the mind and body. However, we will take it to another level. Experts suggest that running through woods, or any unfamiliar terrain will pump your whole reflex cycle. This is because you have to constantly assess your surroundings, and focus your energy at the same time. You can jog at first and increase your speed as you go. The intensity depends on how fast you are. Jumping over, as well as dodging obstacles are part of the exercise. That can be fun but treat the given activities only as a bonus because you might end up hurting yourself. Unless you are really fit to train, skip the ninja parts.

5.  Take supplements – Your daily dose of vitamins further improves your body and cognitive functions. It is difficult for us to maintain the nutrients needed in our body due to hectic lifestyles. Let’s say  I am a professional fighter. My diet is healthy, but there are calorie restrictions which can be counterproductive. Despite having a healthy diet, there are nutrients that my body still misses, and my lifestyle restricts those nutrients. This is where your supplements come into the picture. They deliver nutrients that your diet often can’t. There are also specific supplements in the market that complements your reflexes.

The key to overall improve your tools is to have fun while training. Relaxed learners often learn more than those who are stressed. Enjoyment promotes curiosity which furthermore lead learners to new information. Getting lost in the pleasure of doing something that we enjoy is a different learning experience. It makes learners focus on the quality of the quantity. If we carelessly do the same mistakes over and over, we can really be good at repeating them. You have to be committed when practicing, try to embrace each task, break it into parts, and focus on each slowly. Proceed to the next step each time you comfortably succeed. Relax. Have fun and, take breaks. By doing this, your learning process will be much faster and there will be no “bad” muscle memory to reverse.

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© 2012, Filipino Nurses. All rights reserved. DISCLAIMER: The accuracy of all articles contained in this website are the responsibility of their respective authors. All articles are for informational purposes only and are NOT intended to replace the advice of a doctor. The owner of this site disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on these information. If you have any health-related questions, please consult your physician. If you feel ill, please seek medical attention immediately.

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  • Paul S.

    My friend is a surgeon and he once told me that the best way to maintain his reflexes was to play video games (which is also one of your methods)! I think that it’s an easy way do to it and…fun! I like to play fast paced games like car racing. I found it way more beneficial than many other types.

    • wong.nikko

      Yes! Im actually a gamer. Car racing? Nice! That’s also a good training for improving concentration. Keep it up. Cheers!