ASICS has launched a worldwide study on the effects of exercise on mental health and wellness, and everyone is invited to participate. The study employs a new online tool designed by the team at ASICS called the Mind Uplifter, and it uses facial recognition software and individual self-reports to analyze your mental state before and after exercise. The program announcement was timed to coincide with Global Running Day, and ASICS is hoping to reach one million minds in the coming months.
The Mind Uplifter
The Mind Uplifter takes users through several steps. First, it performs a facial scan, which the ASICS team says will read your emotional state. Once your scan is complete, you’ll be asked six quick questions about your current mental state, such as “How calm are you right now?” and “How confident are you feeling?” You respond on a scale from zero to 10.
You then select the type of exercise you’re about to do (along with running, there are many other options), and you can head out to begin your workout. After your exercise, you return to the program, note how long you worked out, repeat the facial scan and answer the same questions as before.
Once complete, you will see “Your Mind Uplift,” which is an interactive and colourful cloud-looking graphic that illustrates your current mental state. You can compare that to your mental state before the workout, and the individual categories will be listed, showing how your mindset differed before and after you exercised.
The final stop on the program webpage is the World Uplift Map, which is not yet ready to view. By July 1, the team at ASICS hopes to release the map, which will be populated by the Mind Uplifts of people across the globe. Once it’s ready, you will not only be able to see how exercise affects people worldwide, but also specifically how it impacts people in your country and even in your city.
Exercise on the mind
As the team at ASICS notes (and as any runner knows), even a short 20 minutes of exercise can work wonders for your mind. In their preliminary research, the ASICS team looked at the effect of running for just 20 minutes, and the results were staggering. Researchers found that participants experienced a 13 per cent increase in alertness, a close to 16 per cent jump in calmness and that they were 14 per cent more content and 13 per cent more relaxed after their runs.
On average, those studied saw their overall cognitive scores (which are determined by the Mind Uplifter questions) jump by a whopping 17 per cent, while their emotional scores (which are noted by the facial scan) rose by 12 per cent. That’s after just 20 minutes of working out, and in just one sport. Opening up the Mind Uplifter to athletes around the world will give ASICS – and exercisers – the chance to see how specific sports can affect the mind differently, and how the duration of exercise could impact one’s brain.
Mind Uplifter participation
To spread awareness of the Mind Uplifter, ASICS is asking participants to share their results on social media. The company is also offering a virtual event called the World Uplifting Minds Run, which will be open until June 30. This is a free event, and anyone interested can run or walk 5K or 10K and track it on the ASICS Runkeeper app.
In addition to the World Uplifting Minds Run, ASICS has said it will host a number of other sporting events over the course of the rest of the year to “encourage wider participation and demonstrate the power of all sports to uplift the mind.”