Imagine if you could go back in time and change a mistake you made in the past. It would probably be beneficial to your life and put you in a better position than you are today! Unfortunately, we live in a place called reality and there is no way to change the past. However, we can definitely affect the now and there are several ways to train decision making so you’re not regretting you mistakes 5 minutes later.
FITLIGHT® Brand Ambassador, Nick Davenport explains cognitive training and how FITLIGHT® works to improve it.
Decision making is defined as the action or process of making decisions, especially important ones. Now whether it be quick fast decisions or ones we need to think about and marinate on for a while, the brain plays in important role in this action. Particularly the region of the brain called the prefrontal cortex has the control when it comes to decision making. The better this region is at processing and reacting in the appropriate manner the more likely you are to make the right decisions.
So where does FITLIGHT® come in? Well let’s break down the anatomy of a decision.
- You’re presented with two or more options.
- You have a timeframe in which you must choose one or of those presented options.
- In that timeframe you take a specified action that will dictate the result of a decision.
- The decision has been made and you wither have made a productive/beneficial/accurate decision or you have made a detrimental/unproductive/inaccurate decision.
Let’s explore this concept further with an example:
- Decision Options: You’re driving on the highway and you’re not familiar with area and which exit get off on.
- Timeframe: You have about 12 seconds before you pass it and there isn’t another exit for miles.
- Action taken: Using the prior knowledge you have of navigation and what the GPS gives you decide to get off.
- Result of the decision: It was the correct exit and you get to your destination on time.
So now that we know how decision-making works let’s talk about how we can train it. Now like with any other type of training decision making can be improved. The goal is to put yourself in a position to make decisions but in a less than preferable state.
For example, if had a deck of playing cards and flipped over two random cards and asked which one was higher you’d probably be able to do this pretty easily. If I were to say pick up the higher card in less than 1 second, this could a little more pressure. I could take it even further by saying if the higher card is odd pick up with your left hand and if it is even or a face card use your right hand. All these added elements play a role in challenging how the decision is made.
With FITLIGHT® we can take these decision-making variable to a different level! By lessoning the time out, varying the colors used or even how we position the light, we can increase the difficulty of making the decision. The added benefit to being able to vary the difficulty is that we can measure the efficiency of the process. The average time can give us a tangible measure of how long did it take for you to process all the given details of the decision and execute it accurately.
This drill involves quick decision making that ranges from the color presented, hand used or even number on card.
Drill requires: 3 FITLIGHTS®, 6 MindBody1 Cards (or any type of colored card red, yellow, green or blue with numbers such as Uno Cards)
Participant completes drill in forearm plank position for set amount of time
Duration: 6-12 Hits Timeout: 1.5 secs-3 secs Delay: .5 secs-1.5 secs
- Light activates either red, yellow, green or blue and the participant then flips any card of their choice over.
- If the color of the card matches the color of the light the participant deactivates with their left hand and if the color of the card doesn’t match then they use their right hand to deactivate.
- The participant resets back to the plank position and repeats these steps until the sequence is completed.
The client is to remain in plank position during the entire light sequence.
As with any training aspect, overload is key to progressing. By varying the times or task to attend to you can make this drill more difficult. Below are ways to progress from simple to more complex.
To make the drill slightly more difficult you can change the directions of which hand to use to deactivate the light every set. This keeps the participant from getting to use to one set of directions.
By lowering the amount of time the participant has to react you put them in a greater “fight or flight” situation. The likeliness for error increases as they tend to over analyze what to do.
3. Repositioning the Plank
This task requires the participant to recognize the light as a cue to change the position of the plank.
For example, blue can mean to change the positioning of your forearms from an upright plank to a push up position and green can signal a push before deactivating with the prescribed order of directions. By adding this aspect, you not only get the benefit of executive functioning but also body awareness as you need cognizant of your position.
4. Numbers as no go
This should be done at a faster timeout setting. Here the number of the card can play a factor on what to do. For example, if the number on the card is lower than 3, you use the left hand regardless of the color. If the number is 3 or higher, you don’t deactivate the light. While still recognizing the concepts of the drill, the participant must not only attend to relevant cues but they also have to ignore the irrelevant cues.
5. Adding working memory
Indirectly working memory is always an aspect of these drills but here we look to stress it a little more. While the participant is completing the drill with given instructions, someone can make them remember a series of numbers or words. This really puts a strain on their cognitive load since they have to use it to do the task at hand while focusing on remembering words or numbers. Once the sequence is complete, they do not immediately recall the words or numbers as they are first given a simple distraction task such as recalling the alphabet or counting to fifty by fives. This increases the difficulty before being told to recall the words or numbers.
So, training decision making is definitely possible and the FITLIGHT™ system makes it a fun, challenging, and measurable experience that may be difference in you winning the championship game, passing a test, or making the right choices on the road.
-See the Light and Get Your Mind Right!