An experiment saw 77 physically inactive mind gamers from 21 countries – who specialise in chess and e-sports – complete a training programme to examine the link between exercise and mental performance.
After four months, the study found their minds were ‘significantly sharpened’ and they were able to perform at a higher level than before.
The gamers’ cognitive function was boosted, on average, by 10 per cent, with problem solving abilities improving by nine per cent, short-term memory by 12 per cent and processing speed and alertness by 10 per cent.
The study’s head coach, Andrew Kastor, who developed the gamers’ training programmes for the experiment, commissioned by sports brand ASICS, said: “These results are astonishing and speak to the power of exercise.
“Many of the gamers couldn’t jog for longer than a minute at the start of the study, so their training programmes had to be moderate.
“One hundred and fifty minutes a week sounds a lot but when you break it down this could be five sets of 30 minutes.
“No matter your fitness levels, the mental benefits of exercise are accessible to all.”
The programme saw the participants go from doing less than 30 minutes of exercise a week to 150 minutes, made up of moderate cardio and strength training.
The impact of the programme on their mind was then measured through a series of computerised cognitive tests and mental assessments designed to examine their processing speed, alertness, planning abilities, concentration levels and short-term memory at the start and end of the experiment.
Participants’ international gaming rankings improved by 75 per cent, while the mind gamers’ group confidence levels increased by 44 per cent.
Concentration improved by 33 per cent and anxiety levels plummeted by 43 per cent.
As well as showing that exercise improved the participants cognitive function and gaming capabilities, it also revealed an uplift in

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