Rev Up Your Reaction Speed: Nootropics, Games, and other Strategies for Peak Performance

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There is a scene in the Denzil Washington movie, Man on Fire, where he progressively tests his reaction time as he rapidly consumes a bottle of whiskey. Watching how the alcohol works on his brain, slowing his reactions and making his movements clumsy is depressing to watch. Besides for the immediate effect of alcohol, we also associate slow speed with old age. And this progression is often much slower, so we don’t always notice it – until it’s too late.

Maintaining strong, quick reaction speeds means we can drive for longer, work for longer, remain independent for longer, play with kids and dogs for longer and just generally have a good quality of life for longer. Sounds like a good thing to me.

So how do we keep our reaction speed in tip-top shape? Here are some points to think about:

1. Play

Quick reaction speed is inherent in gaming. Dodging bad guys, jumping across seemingly impossible voids, or going for goal all require practise. Adding pressure to the equation makes the practise that you get in gaming it even more effective in boosting reaction speed. Consistent practice with these games will naturally train your brain and body to react more swiftly in a fun way.

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2. Physical Sports

Nobody wants to be that person that doesn’t catch the ball because they were on their phone texting or daydreaming, costing the team a potential win. Cricket, tennis, squash and trail cycling / running all require quick reaction times, or you could get pretty hurt.

Naturally exercise also has many other useful benefits for maintaining brain health and a healthy brain means quick reaction speed.

Aerobic exercises, such as running, cycling, and swimming, increase the heart rate, which in turn enhances blood flow to the brain. This increased circulation delivers oxygen and nutrients more efficiently to brain cells, supporting their health and function.

Regular physical activity has been linked to the growth of new neurons, particularly in the hippocampus, a region of the brain associated with memory and learning. This process, known as neurogenesis, contributes to improved cognitive functions overall.

Exercise stimulates the production of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which are crucial for mood regulation, alertness, and concentration. This can lead to better focus and quicker reaction times during both cognitive and physical tasks.

Physical activity promotes the brain’s plasticity by stimulating the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports the survival of existing neurons and encourages the growth and differentiation of new neurons and synapses. Neuroplasticity is fundamental for learning new skills and adapting to new information, impacting cognitive speed and efficiency.

Physical sports

3. Nootropics & Supplements

Nootropics (cognitive enhancers) are substances that can improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals.

Reaction speed is a measure of cognitive functions like focus, attention and processing speed. Here are some of our favourite options:

  • Natural caffeine (Green Coffee Bean; Guarana): This common stimulant enhances alertness and reduces perceived effort, which can lead to faster reactions. Try to avoid synthetic caffeine (caffeine anhydrous) as it does not have the natural chlorogenic acids found in coffee plants. These compounds have an antioxidant effect, neutralizing harmful free radicals and reducing oxidative stress in the body.
  • L-Theanine: Often paired with caffeine, L-Theanine can provide a calming effect that complements caffeine’s energy-boosting properties, resulting in smoother and faster reactions. A dose of 100 mg will help improve focus and cognitive function, especially when paired with natural caffeine.
  • Bacopa Monnieri: This adaptogenic plant is known for its memory-enhancing effects. Bacopa may improve communication between neurons in the brain. Enhanced neural communication is essential for faster processing speeds and quicker reactions to stimuli. Bacopa monnieri has been reported to have anxiety-reducing effects. By reducing anxiety, it may indirectly improve the ability to focus and respond more swiftly since anxiety can negatively impact cognitive performance and reaction speed.
  • Rhodiola Rosea: This adaptogen can combat fatigue and support mental clarity, contributing to quicker decision-making.
  • Noopept: A potent synthetic nootropic, Noopept has been reported to enhance cognitive abilities, potentially leading to faster reactions.
  • Maritime Pine Bark: Pine bark extract has been shown to enhance nitric oxide production in the body, which helps dilate blood vessels, improving blood flow. Better circulation, including to the brain, can enhance cognitive function and improve reaction speed by ensuring a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients to neural tissue. A dose of 100 to 200 mg is recommended for general cognitive enhancement.

If you would like to get all these nootropic ingredients in the right dosages in one, PLUS more, Neurologica 1UP is for you. READ MORE.

Green coffee beans

4. Enough Sleep

You might have heard the statistic that going for more than 17 hours without sleep can impair a person’s performance to a level comparable to having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05% to 0.1%. This is equal to about 2 alcoholic beverages. Sleep deprivation has a massive effect on cognitive and motor performance, especially on functions such as reaction time, decision-making abilities, and overall alertness.

During sleep, the brain goes through processes of restoration and recovery from the day’s cognitive loads. This period allows the brain to clear out waste products, strengthen neural connections, and recover from daily stressors. Without sufficient sleep, the brain cannot fully recover, leading to slower cognitive processing and longer reaction times.

For most adults, 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night is recommended for optimal health and cognitive function. However, the exact amount can vary depending on age, lifestyle, and health conditions.

Sustaining sharp reaction speeds isn’t just about enhancing immediate performance, but it’s an investment in our long-term cognitive health and overall quality of life. From the regular reminders in pop culture of the detrimental effects of alcohol on our reaction capabilities to the more gradual but equally impactful decline due to age, the message is clear: the maintenance of quick reflexes and sharp responses is integral to our independence and vitality. Incorporating playful, cognitively demanding games, engaging in physical sports, optimizing our diets with brain-boosting nootropics, and prioritizing restful sleep are key strategies that collectively contribute to this goal. Each element not only addresses reaction speed but also enhances broader aspects of cognitive function, underlying their interconnectedness in maintaining cognitive agility.


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Whether it’s extending years of safe driving, ensuring competitive edge in sports and games, or simply enjoying lively interactions with loved ones, the efforts we put into preserving this aspect of our brain’s performance can have profound, lasting effects on our lives. The blend of natural supplementation offered by products like Neurologica 1UP, alongside healthy lifestyle choices, provides a comprehensive approach to nurturing our minds—a testament to the power of proactive, holistic well-being strategies over the lifespan. Let’s embrace these practices with the same enthusiasm we reserve for life’s most thrilling moments, securing not just faster reactions, but richer, fuller experiences for years to come.

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