Every time, the sport has more relevance in terms of physical healthy but what happens in the brain? There are a lot of investigations that reveal the importance of train our mind like we train the body, and some of the benefits are more and strong neuronal connections that allow the capacity of learn and memorize.
One neuroscience research is unveiling the differences between brain activity of top performance athletes compared to novices, the brain of Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (Brasilian national team football player) and other participants were analyzed while performing right ankle rotation. The authors found a reduced load on the motor regions in the brain of Neymar when compared to other professional and amateur football players. Presumably, that could allow him to spend neural resources to focus more on cognitive aspects during the sport performance, like predicting and detecting the actions of other players. Naito, E., & Hirose, S. (2014). Efficient foot motor control by Neymars brain. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.[Online] (8)p. 1–7.
[Accesed: 30th March 2016]
Other studies in sports neuroscience search the way humans encode spatial information. A difference was found in the way a target position is stored in the human brain with respect to the athlete’s reference system, being either egocentric (specify location and orientation of the target with respect to the human itself) or allocentric (specify location and orientation with respect to elements and features of the environment). They discovered areas in the occipital cortex that are selectively active only for one specific type of information retrieval, supporting the idea that this part of the brain plays an important role in the guidance of actions. Klaus Gramann, Tzyy-Ping Jung, Daniel P. Ferris, Chin-Teng Lin,Scott Makeig(2014). Toward a new cognitive neuroscience: modeling natural brain dynamics. Front Hum Neurosci. 8: 444.
As a baby, the human being begin doing sport at the moment of birth, then it has to move, turn, roll, sit, crawl, creep, walk, run and more in order to develop its neurological functions. From the beginning to end, that’s the only way to grow strong and health.
Ruth Talavera Flores
Research Associate & IRIANS’s Representative for
the Iberian Peninsula and Mexico
IRIANS – The Neuroscience Institute