Reflexes are muscle reactions to external stimuli that are induced by nerve signals. For example, if you notice a ball flying towards your head, your brain will send a signal to your hand to block it before it hits. Having good reflexes helps with sports performance, exercise and even everyday physical activities such as crossing the street or driving. Some people are born with a predisposition to quick reflexes, while others must practice to gain a faster reaction time to stimuli. Here are several techniques that you can employ in order to improve your reflexes.
Method 1 of 3: Improving Reflexes with Mental Exercises
Step 1. Improve peripheral vision
Having a fast reaction time depends on being very aware of your surroundings. You can strengthen your ability to perceive obstacles and objects in the air by paying attention to peripheral vision as you go about your daily activities.
- Look at a window that has a good view and focus on a distant object. As you watch it from a distance, allow yourself to increasingly recognize the objects that surround you on all sides. Do this exercise once a day, always expanding your field of vision a little more. Gradually, you will become more used to noticing objects that appear in your peripheral vision.
- When walking or riding in a car, observe what appears in peripheral vision. Practice identifying people's hair color and the make and model of passing cars as quickly as possible.
- Look for videos of techniques used in martial arts to improve peripheral vision.
Step 2. Play video games
To play well, you need good hand-eye coordination. You must be able to go from thought to action without pausing, or you will end up losing quickly. First-person shooters and RPGs are often the most demanding on coordination, but either option will serve that purpose well.
Step 3. Do hypnosis
Some people have observed that a technique called "neuro-linguistic programming", also used in hypnosis, helps to heighten their awareness of a particular object, which gives them the feeling that time is slowing down and will soon have more time to to react. Imagine a sports video that shows the player receiving the ball in slow motion. The ball itself is not traveling at a slower speed, but according to practitioners, this is the impression neurolinguistic programming brings.
Step 4. Practice mindfulness
Cultivate being aware through constant meditation or focusing on the present moment. Clear your mind and try to focus all your attention on what is going on around you. Eliminate past or future thoughts and instead direct your mind toward the sights, sounds, and sensations of now.
This will help you develop your own awareness of your surroundings, allowing you to see more details and better reaction time in important situations
Method 2 of 3: Improving Reflexes with Exercise
Step 1. Practice catching a rubber ball, or "reaction ball"
These six-sided balls bounce at unpredictable angles and can be found at most sporting goods stores. Buy one of these, or use a bouncing ball, and throw it against a wall outside the house. Your goal is to catch her when she comes back towards you. As your reaction time improves, throw it harder and challenge yourself to jump and dive in order to catch it.
Step 2. Play the buggy game (also called "five marias")
On days when you're looking for something more relaxed, grab this classic game, which usually comes with a small ball and twelve metal pieces. Start by bouncing the ball lightly and picking up as many pieces as you can before it returns to the ground. As you improve, challenge yourself by bouncing the ball with even greater speed. It is also possible to move the pieces apart to increase the game's difficulty.
Step 3. Practice dodgeball (or "stamp") with a friend
For this exercise, in addition to your friend, you will need a large rubber or foam ball. Face a wall, at the gym or outside near a building. Ask your friend to throw the ball at you, a distance of approximately ten feet, as you try to dodge. Over time, you can ask him to shoot the ball faster and a shorter distance.
- To further increase the challenge, invite a second friend and ask them to throw another ball right after you dodged the first.
- Ask players to try to be unpredictable by making false moves or from unexpected angles, and so on.
- This practice as a team sport is also a great way to improve your reflexes. Practice catching and kicking the balls thrown in your direction.
Step 4. Play table tennis
This sport, also called "ping pong", is great for improving reflexes and hand-eye coordination. You can usually find tables relatively cheap on the internet or in various sports stores. Otherwise, you can join a table tennis group or club, with the possibility of having different partners and facing even greater challenges in the search for better reflexes.
If you have never practiced this sport, it can be helpful to join a club or group as they will help you understand the basic steps, from form to skill development
Step 5. Choose a sport and practice it regularly
Various options, including football, tennis, shuttlecock, volleyball and martial arts, are excellent for improving your reflexes. Look for some athletic activity where you need to manipulate an object, such as a ball, using some tool, such as a racket or a club. These sports generally need a very short reaction time and can help you develop both reflexes and spatial intelligence.
Step 6. Take a nature trail
As you don't require any special equipment or companions, running a run in the closest natural space can be the easiest way to start improving your reflexes. Just find the desired spot - preferably with varied terrain rather than a wide, flat spot - and start running. The uneven terrain and the unpredictable roots and rocks that will serve as obstacles will create a greater variety of stimuli to which the body will have to react quickly. The more you repeat this practice, the faster your reflexes will become.
- Start with a moderate trot. As your reflexes improve over time, cover yourself by running even faster. Nature trails also tend to have a higher risk of accidents, so it's important to start slowly.
- Vary it by choosing different tracks whenever possible. If you get used to a particular route, your brain will remember obstacles and you won't improve your reflexes.
- If there aren't many nature trails where you live, run the same route in different directions.
Method 3 of 3: Taking care of yourself
Step 1. Eat healthy
Keeping your body and brain in good health is essential for those who want good reflexes. Foods high in refined sugars and trans fats can drain your energy. Eat enough protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.
- Whole foods like nuts, fish, small fruits, vegetables and garlic improve cognitive function.
- Also drink plenty of water, as dehydration can result in lethargy and worse reflexes.
Step 2. Get enough sleep
According to professional studies, sleep can help you have faster reflexes and perform higher than possible. Both your body and brain slow down when you're sleepy, which results in worse reflexes. They will be better if you are well rested after seven to nine hours of sleep.
- A good night's sleep is made up of four to five cycles, each consisting of a period of deep sleep and REM sleep, with rapid eye movement. This totals seven to nine hours a night.
- If you didn't sleep well the night before an important race or game match, taking a nap for a few hours before the event can help you be more alert when the time comes.
Step 3. Supplement food
Some supplements can also improve reflexes. Ginseng, Ginkgo, vitamins B12 and C, and omega-3s have all been cited as helpful options for improving cognitive function and reaction times.
- Remember that the more you practice a particular move, the more automatic it will become. If you want to get better at hitting a ping-pong ball, for example, the best way to improve is to practice a lot, until you are able to do it without thinking.
- Practice catching the ball with an acquaintance or friend. This will help you move faster.
- If your skin bruises easily, ask your friend to throw the ball close to your body, not directly in your direction. You can still dodge and practice to speed up your own reaction time without getting hurt.
- Wear proper shoes before going for a run. You can buy special sneakers, but in a normal climate, conventional models serve the purpose well.
- Consult a doctor before taking supplements, as some supplements should not be taken by people with certain health conditions.
- If you like, you can protect your eyes with sports glasses when practicing ball throwing exercises.