Dr. Mike Studer, world-renowned expert on dual-task training, explains how the principles behind Curry’s regimen work to improve performance at any level.
What can pro basketball star Stephen Curry’s training regimen teach us about fall prevention, military tactical performance, physical therapy, stroke or concussion rehabilitation, slowing or preventing the progression of Parkinson’s disease or dementia? Or for that matter, any other daily activity that requires the brain and body to work efficiently together to achieve optimal performance?
Dr. Mike Studer, DPT and world-renowned expert on dual-task (aka cognitive-physical or brain and body) training, believes Curry’s program tells us much about how we all can all train to live healthier, happier, and more productive lives. Dr. Studer has been using SMARTfit in his practice for almost four years and developed the company’s exclusive Dual Task Cost Test, which measures and suggests programming to improve performance
“Curry starts every warmup by dribbling two basketballs simultaneously,” observes Dr. Studer. “What he’s doing is known as dual tasking. When he’s in the game and only having to dribble one basketball, he’s trained himself to be so automatized, what’s known as procedural memory, that he doesn’t require any of his cognitive resources to handle one basketball. He practices repeatedly by dribbling two basketballs so that his proficiency with one basketball and cognitive attention to the rest of his game is highly elevated.”
On Tactical Performance
“What if I translated that idea into the decision-making processes required of our “tactical athletes” in the armed forces, police, and firefighters,” continues Dr. Studer. “If I need to make quick decisions that my life and those around me depend on, I need to be able to run, decision-make, stop, fire, and consider everything in the environment at once. A tactical athlete needs endurance of the body, endurance of the mind, rapid decision making, and the ability to not only dual, but multi-task. So SMARTfit has already created a programming platform specifically designed for tactical performance.”
On Dementia, Alzheimer’s
“Imagine I was a tenured professor at Harvard. I taught there for 45 years, but I got Alzheimer’s disease that started to become detectible at 82 years old. Because I’d built such a resource, or redundancy, of my intelligence, my Alzheimer’s might have developed and been detected at age 68, but it couldn’t be detected because I had developed a reserve. That’s what we want SMARTfit to be able to do for people of all ages – train their brain and body together to develop cognitive reserve.”
On Other Degenerative Diseases, Stroke, Concussion
“Another important reason for training cognitive reserve is if you’re stricken with a degenerative disease like Parkinson’s or a one-time insult (medical term) such as stroke or concussion, you will have elevated your nervous system capabilities so that the insult takes from a larger pool of resources that would not have been available if you had not pre-habilitated or trained your brain and body over time to work more effectively together.”
On Preventing Falls
“There is clear evidence for the functional significance of DTI (dual task intervention) on gait speed, fall frequency, and independence of gait. Dual task training can simulate attentional demands such as talking, texting, cleaning glasses, and assessing a dynamic environment while walking. Neuroplasticity (learning) comes when sufficient demand during therapy or training pushes the organization of the motor control of gait into the procedural memory centers.”
The Ability to Elevate Your Game is Not Limited by Age or Ability
“People of all ages and abilities can improve their game by engaging, gamifying, and practicing intensively their physical and cognitive attributes together. As my friend and colleague Dr. Rob Winningham will tell you, you don’t have to be young to start and benefit from a cognitive-physical, dual-task training program. The research is clear that neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to enhance and create new neural connections in the brain to improve human performance, is not limited by age. You can improve physical, cognitive, and dual-task performance throughout later life.”
“There continues to be much to learn, but I can tell you this: SMARTfit is the only technology I’ve found that can scale cognitive demand while concurrently executing a wide variety of physical movements and skills. Progressive increments in cognitive demand while concurrently scaling physical demands ensures leveling and prevents overwhelm or boredom. This allows the concept of demand and supply to produce optimum results for neuroplasticity. This applies to new learning, recovery, and preventions.”
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Seeing the Potential in Brain Recovery | Mike Studer | TEDxSalem