Doing It The Right Way

I have been pretty regular about working out for almost all of my adult life.  I don’t think I would have kept my sanity, otherwise, and I have been very fortunate in that my workplace has a very well-appointed fitness room where I can get a workout in over the lunch hour.  But only lately have I been convinced of the notion that there is a right way and a wrong way to exercise.  You can do it the wrong way and get up a sweat, but not gain – or even lose – the fitness that you are after.  You may guess that this new thinking might be the result of my immersion into the primal/paleo literature and you’d be right.  But I think personal experience has borne out a lot of the claims that the primal people make.

I suspect that there is a right way and a wrong way to do brain training, too, and the particular issue I’m concerned about at the moment is this: how long  a session is optimal and how often should you train in order to see maximum results.

The site that I am using (Brain HQ) starts you off with what they call twenty minute sessions and they recommend that you train three times a week.  They have their reasons for those limits, I am sure, but I am not convinced that twenty minutes three times a week will give you anything like maximum results.  Most of my “twenty minute” sessions end up being even shorter than that – some as short as seventeen minutes.

My guess is that the twenty minutes, three times a week recommendations are based at least in part on marketing data.  My guess is that 20 minutes three times a week is more inviting and less daunting to the general public than the kind of schedule that might produce faster results and the light-ended recommendations are aimed not at maximum improvement, but maximum business for the company and, perhaps, more customers staying with the program longer and, thus, paying more rent.

That being said, I must add that I do see diminishing performance after the twenty-minute session is over.  One thing this experience has shown me is that mental fatigue is quite analogous to physical fatigue.  After so many mental reps, you just can’t perform like you did at the outset.

So, this post is aimed at getting some feedback from others who have trained on either of the popular sites or services – Lumosity or Brain HQ or who have some other insider knowledge on the points.  What is an optimal time for training sessions?  And how often should you train to see optimal results?

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One thought on “Doing It The Right Way”

  1. For my job I take frequent day trips in my car. It’s not unusual for me to spend 6 to 8 hours behind the wheel on such trips. A few years ago I started taking advantage of the time by learning Mandarin on CDs. Each lesson is 30 minutes. I’ve completed 90 lessons. I find myself losing concentration around 20 minutes, and pushing through (much like a physical workout) to get to the end. Then I need a rest of a couple of hours before I’m ready for another lesson. I guess I’m confirming the notion of brain fatigue.

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