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February 9, 2009 at 2:56 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Thinkercise: New NeuroActive Bike Offers A Total Mind-Body Workout

By Katie from SLN More Blogs by This Author

Do you ever wonder what your brain is doing while you exercise? Maybe it's listening to your iPod and watching Jerry Springer. Or it might be counting down the minutes until you can rest. While those things can help pass the time, have you considered perhaps letting your brain join the workout?

Meet the NeuroActive Bike, the latest mind-body fitness technology from the physician-owned Brain Center of America (BCA).

Expanding its history of developing tools for mental activity and exercise, the BCA presents a machine that provides cardio and mental stimulation through an all-in-one recumbent stationary bike and PC. The NeuroActive Bike puts users in front of a computer screen, where they can pedal while interacting through a wireless mouse. Users then chose from 22 different exercises that focus on memory, arithmetic, spatial skills, and concentration. The NeuroActive program utilizes advanced artificial intelligence, word problems, and visual exercises to target 16 specific cognitive functions.

Don't be fooled - it's harder than it sounds. Mental tasks that seem simple when you are sitting still might become much more complicated when at least a small part of your concentration is focused on moving your legs. In a recent ABC broadcast, a few of the network personalities demonstrated how the program works. While they had no problem with pedaling, they ran into a few issues with a memory game about human faces.

NeuroActive Bike programs are envisioned and engineered by doctors, who base their ideas on scientific research supporting the relationship between brain exercise and improved cognitive function. Theses studies have shown that regular mental exercise can increase cognitive function by 20%. It may seem like common sense that exercise stimulates the brain. But if you're still skeptical, ponder this: The University of California at San Francisco monitored the neurological function of nearly 6,000 women over an eight year period. The higher-energy women displayed significantly less cognitive decline than the relatively inactive women. These women were not doing heavy workouts, but simply walking several miles over the course of a week.

For the moment, most people will probably not be able to bring the NeuroActive Bike into their homes for personal use. But anyone can stimulate their brain while exercising. Try making up a story, visualizing the street map of your neighborhood, or making up number patterns while you're on the treadmill or in the lap pool. Even a small effort is better than nothing, and you might even find that you enjoy it!

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