Professional athletes and coaches are well aware that optimal performance is not just about the state of the body but also about the state of the mind. While there has been great focus on the readiness of the body to perform, what about the mind? Are mind and body not connected? If they are, how can we quantify this relationship to personalize coaching and optimize performance?
Quantifying the Mind & Body to Drive Performance
A 2017 study published in Frontiers In Psychology titled Mechanisms of Mind-Body Interaction and Optimal Performance, demonstrated that a form of mindfulness training called Integrative Body-Mind Training can “improve attention, positive emotion and diverse cognitive performance including creativity, working memory, conflict resolution and learning” (Tang & Bruya, 2017), factors which are known to improve performance in athletes.
What’s interesting here is that the researchers actually quantified the autonomic nervous system state by measuring Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and skin conductance response. They also examined the brain and physiological changes before, during and after the mindfulness intervention and showed increased parasympathetic system activity. The physiological metrics they measured were Heart Rate, HRV, respiratory rate and amplitude, and skin conductance response.
In addition, the researchers state that the parasympathetic-attentional mind-body interaction, defined as “balanced attention in which high control is achieved with low subjective mental effort” (Tang & Bruya, 2017), can also impact one's emotional state, health, quality of life and self-growth. While the researchers acknowledge that more work is needed to really understand the biomarkers of mind-body interaction and optimal performance, this study shows how powerful it can be to approach human performance holistically by engaging in mindful interventions.
Myant: Bridging the Athlete’s Mind and Body Via Textile
This kind of work clearly demonstrates the complexity of mind-body interaction and helps illustrate a growing need to understand an athlete’s well-being and performance on a holistic level. It is very valuable to study these biomarkers and interventions in a controlled lab setting but the ability to continuously track these metrics and in various contexts would open up a plethora of new relationships between the mind and body and enable true personalization of interventions and coaching. Myant believes that our textile-based interfaces and digital platforms will play a major role in achieving that vision. Our solutions will allow for continuous measurement of electrophysiological, biomechanical and other physiological data such as breathing rate and temperature, thereby providing holistic insight to body function.
The days of “Suck it up!” or “Get over it and play on!” are behind us. Our industry needs to focus on harnessing the power of both virtual and in-person connection. That includes connection to self by holistically understanding how one’s body and mind function in different contexts and a connection to others by enabling truly personalized and empathetic coaching/rehabilitation. We are committed to serve as a conduit for the athlete to meaningfully connect with coaches, therapists, fellow athletes and other IoT-enabled fitness equipment and devices.
Ultimately, the vision of Myant’s Connect to Conquer Lab is to provide athletes and consumers with holistic data and actionable insights to enable true personalized performance optimization with the goals of injury prevention, chronic disease prevention and ultimately, increasing healthspan and longevity.
Let’s connect and find ways to tackle this challenge together.
Tang, Yi-Yuan, and Brian Bruya. “Mechanisms of Mind-Body Interaction and Optimal Performance.” Frontiers in Psychology vol. 8 647. 9 May. 2017, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00647
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About Myant Inc.
Myant has created the world’s first Textile Computing ™ platform that continuously and ambiently connects people to their bodies, to each other, and to the world around them. Using connected textiles that can sense and react to the human body and a platform that enables machine learning driven health and performance outcomes, Myant is on a mission to transform human connectedness. With an extensive patent portfolio, key exclusive relationships within the textile computing industry, a multidisciplinary team of researchers, engineers, data scientists, fashion designers and knitting specialists, and over 80,000 ft² of manufacturing capacity, Myant is changing the way people across society connect. Connect with us to find out how we can help you create innovative solutions powered by connected textiles and the Myant Platform.
For more information about Myant, please visit www.myant.ca.