If you think that your reaction time is slow and you’re looking for ways to improve your reaction time, this article lays down some of the best tips for it!
What is Reaction Time?
Reaction time refers to the amount of time between perceiving something and responding to it. It is a measure of how quickly our brain responds to any stimulus. Increasing the reaction means improving the ability to detect, process, and respond to a situation.
All our senses are engaged in a variety of ways. Sometimes, it’s just one sense that responds, such as when you close your eyes in response to bright light.
At other times, multiple senses are involved that ignite other sensory reactions. This stimulation sends a signal to the central and peripheral nervous systems. This delivers the information to the rest of the body that needs to respond.
Why is it Important?
Having a good reaction time allows you to be agile and efficient when responding to a stimulus. It can be simple reactions like when driving or having a conversation, to complex reactions involving major decisions in life.
It is essential to perceive the information received in the right manner because that largely affects your reaction time - a good response time benefits you in a variety of ways.
Now, let’s find out how to increase your reaction time!
10 Ways to Improve Reaction Time
Various factors affect your reaction time like your state of mind and perception of the activity. Below is a list of ten ways on how to improve your reaction time.
1) Right Nutrition Intake
It is an unsaid fact that balanced brain functioning is essential for faster reaction times. Having a proper diet that nourishes your brain and body helps in improving your motor skill and reflexes.
Foods like berries and pomegranates are good sources of vitamins and help in the proper functioning of your brain. Moreover, caffeine and reaction time also share a positive relationship. So go ahead and have a cup of coffee before starting your day.
2) Play Video Games
Video games are a fun and effective way to improve your reaction time. Video games are not only about staring at the screens throughout but also involve brain activities.
It is because they require gamers to be agile, active, and speedy. Numerous studies have shown that video games have helped people make decisions faster, be able to multitask and have a great reaction time. Moreover, they also develop a sensitivity to their surroundings and react strongly in all the situations
3) Minimize Distractions
You may sometimes wonder why my reaction time is slow, or how I can improve my reaction time…it can be due to distractions. If your work requires concentration or speed, the best way to focus is by eliminating the distractions around you.
For example, when you are driving on a poor road and need to react quickly, talk less with the passengers or turn off the radio, so that you can concentrate on driving. This can help you in improving your reaction time.
Eliminating distraction also works for overcoming procrastination.
4) Get Enough Sleep
You may respond slowly when you are tired or lack sleep, no matter what you do. Make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep every day. A good night's sleep can benefit you in multiple ways- from recharging you as part of a healthy morning routine to improving your reaction time.
5) Hydrate Yourself
Dehydration can affect your body and mind and have a huge effect on your reflexes and reaction time. When you are not hydrated enough, your brain actually shrinks and your thinking capacity can take a toll.
It is essential to hydrate yourself throughout the day- drink enough water, at least six to eight glasses, so that you don’t feel lazy. Plus, it is also important to begin your day with 2 glasses of water for a healthy morning routine.
Meditation can calm your mind and relax your muscles. When you practice meditation and deep breathing, your brain supports you to react quickly to every action.
Try to include 10 minutes of meditation in your daily life, so that you remain focused throughout the day and also improve your reaction time. It will also improve your mental alertness.
7) Physical Exercises
Wondering if physical activity can help improve your reaction time? Well, you are right! There are plenty of reaction time exercises, which allow the brain to process its reaction quickly.
Exercises like ladder drills, plyometrics, agility drills, and other athletic exercises, etc., are directly related to speed and quick reaction and force your body to respond to your brain signals faster. Hence, these are a great way of improving your reaction speed.
8) Play a Sport
Sports are a super-effective way to improve your reaction time. It involves constant movement, coordination with team members, etc., so much so that you need to be agile throughout the game. While it may begin with a game initially, this quick reaction would soon become a part of you.
Your reaction time would improve drastically and become an involuntary response to any stimuli. However, picking up a sport may sound easy but practicing it regularly is challenging.
If you are new to sports, pick up an easy one, to begin with, and eventually challenge yourself with high-action sports.
9) Cognitive Exercises
Increasing reaction time enquires you to strengthen your brain. A good way to begin this is by keeping your brain engaged and active with various puzzles. Moreover, cognitive exercises are a great way to improve reaction time.
It can be a simple brain teaser or exploring new ways of doing the same thing- anything that keeps your brain engaged. This activity in your brain boosts growth, eventually improving your reaction time.
10) Make Quick Decisions
Take conscious efforts to speed up your decision-making in everyday life. If you feel that you are delaying decisions or overthinking anything, motivate yourself to decide on them quickly.
Repeating this process will create a habit of taking quick decisions, thereby improving your reaction time. This will also make you more productive.
Why is my reaction time so slow?
Reaction time depends on a variety of factors. Some people can react quickly to their surroundings, whereas some cannot. Luckily, reaction time can be trained and improved with time and practice. If you are tense about why your reaction time is slow, you can strengthen it with some lifestyle changes. Having a fast reaction time means that your brain is quick in sending messages to your body parts, to make further movements. If you follow the above practices, you can also improve your reaction time with ease.
Let’s also understand the factors affecting reaction time.
- Complexity of the stimulus: Sometimes, a stimulus can be complex to perceive, and you might take time to understand it, thereby leading to slower reaction time. Therefore, the more complex a stimulus, the more information needs to be processed and requires a longer speed time. Think of your reaction time when asked “what is 2+2?” Since it’s simple, your reaction time is much quicker than if I asked you “what is 17 x 35?” The more complex the stimulus, the longer the reaction time.
- Familiarity and preparation: Responding to a known stimulus takes less time compared to a new one. When you have already responded to a stimulus, you need to process less information, so you will be able to react quickly.
- State of the person: The organism’s condition is very important in deciding the reaction time. If a person is filled with fatigue or low attention, he will take a long time to react. Whereas, someone who is energetic and active throughout, will react quickly to his surroundings.
Mode of information: Reaction time is shorter when the information triggered is through audio than visual. Hence, each mode of information requires a different reaction time.
Reaction time can be improved through lifestyle and physical changes. A faster reaction time is essential for safe mobility and healthy grooming. Cognitive exercises, nutritious food, and other healthy practices can healthily improve your reaction time, and give you the edge that you’re looking for.