Reaction time is a determining factor between success and failure in sports. The extra split second an athlete takes to respond to information from their environment can cost them a deciding point in their game.
But even if you’re not a professional athlete, faster reaction time is still crucial for leading a safe and healthy life.
It’s how you stop a glass of water from spilling over your computer, avoid a rogue motorcycle from hitting you on the roadside, and steady yourself to prevent spraining your ankles.
However, our ability to react speedily to these stimuli slows down as we age, leaving us feeling more sluggish and more vulnerable to injury.
Luckily, there is an efficient way for you to counter the effects of aging on your reaction time. But before we reveal this nearly magical antidote, let’s discuss the mechanisms involved in achieving shorter response latency.
Sensorimotor Integration and Reaction Time
Reaction time is the length of time it takes for us to respond to a given stimulus.
First, our sensory organs need to perceive this stimulus and send signals to our nervous system, which will process this information and direct our muscular system to react accordingly.
This process is called sensorimotor integration. As outlined above, it happens in three stages, implicating three bodily systems.
Research surrounding response latency has focused chiefly on the central nervous system’s role in the process, as the interpretation of sensory information requires access to memory and knowledge.
The more familiar we are with the stimulus, the easier it becomes for our brains to decide what our bodies should do in response. That’s because each time we encounter a trigger, neurons form stronger connections over time, making it easier for electrical impulses to travel and communicate.
Track runners have learned, for example, to start running as soon as they hear the starting gun fire. Athletes can train to make these reactions almost automatic, like reflexes.
Other responses require more decision-making, such as when skiers continually assess the terrain to decide whether to turn left or right.
In these situations, the suitability of our decisions largely depends on how accurately we perceive our environment. Many studies have noted how sensory enhancement improves athletic performance through shorter response latency.
Slowing Down with Age
Once we reach adulthood, scholars estimate that our simple reaction time slows down by 2 to 6 milliseconds per decade.
Changes in our brain’s physiology bring about this longer reaction time. Here are just some of the structural alterations we experience as we age:
- the volume of grey matter necessary for cognitive processing decreases;
- nerves in the brain region concerned with voluntary movement atrophy; and
- nervous connections that facilitate the transfer of impulses shrink.
As we grow older, we also get bogged down by the decrease and decline in our sensory receptors. These changes impact our ability to correctly identify sensory information over time.
Two to six milliseconds seem minute differences, but they can add up over the years, catching up to us—but only if we let them.
Improving Reaction Time through Rev6
What if I told you there was a way to combat and even reverse the marks of time on your nervous, sensory, and muscular systems’ performance all at once?
It sounds too good to be true, right? But believe us when we say that Rev6 truly, dramatically delivers on this promise.
Even our students are shocked at how they’re suddenly able to catch objects before they fall, like Spider-Man just beginning to understand his newfound powers.
Here are some explanations for how Rev6 provides these results:
Fascial Remodeling and Reaction Time
At the core of Rev6 is revolutionizing movement through the fascia. If you’re unfamiliar, the fascia is a layer of tissue that encompasses every cell and muscle within the body.
It was previously thought only to be a protective and supportive organ. But research and clinical practice are beginning to uncover its function in sensory processing and neuromuscular integration.
Within our fascia resides most of our proprioceptors, sensory receptors that monitor our body’s movements and position within space. They allow us to react instantaneously to changes in our body in motion, protecting us from injury and improving our athletic performance.
The fascia also acts as a communicator between the nervous and muscular systems. It regularly reports to the nervous system about the conditions of our muscles and relays signals from the brain to the muscles to coordinate an action.
If the fascia is injured, as it often is with improper loading during training and excessive stretching, sensorimotor integration gets delayed in all stages, resulting in slower reaction speeds.
Sensory Stimulation and Reaction Time
Aside from our proprioceptive system, Rev6 also stimulates our senses of touch and balance, which researchers have observed to improve the reaction time of both athletes and healthy older adults.
If you’re curious about how we do so, you can find out more about Rev6 and sensory stimulation here: https://rev6.fit/the-importance-of-sensory-play-for-adults/.
As earlier established, our senses become duller with age and lack of use. Thus, stimulating our senses is key to maintaining a fast reaction time.
Ready to uplevel your reaction time and feel sharper in sports and daily life? Here’s an excellent first step: https://rev6.fit/virtual-classes/