never heard of it? This is not at all surprising, as their numbers pale in comparison to more popular pastimes such as tennis, soccer and swimming.Statistics are hard to come by, but about 36,000 people participate in orienteering each year in England (this sport is most popular in Europe). Also in the United States he has organized orienteering events since the early 1970s.
The concept is very simple. Participants are given a compass and a map of an unfamiliar landscape and instructed to find specific landmarks as quickly as possible, combining high-intensity interval training with navigation. (like of amazing lace.) This can be done on foot or with equipment such as skis, mountain bikes or canoes.
As add one Studies show that orienteering is much like the hunter-gatherer lifestyle our ancestors were used to, and that those who excel in the sport have better spatial navigation skills and memory recall abilities. got it.
This is probably no coincidence. “My take on this is that prehistoric humans had to navigate their environment to find food, shelter and safety,” says the neurophysiologist. Louisa Nicola, a brain coach to elite athletes. “The ability to navigate effectively was crucial to survival and reproduction. Thus, the cognitive and neural processes that support spatial navigation and memory were critical to the types of physical and cognitive challenges prehistoric humans encountered.” suggesting that it may have evolved to function optimally in everyday life.”
Why Strong Spatial Navigation Skills and Memory Retrieval Are So Important
Many of the sports we play today have little in common with our everyday lives, much less with survival. Orienteering, on the other hand, is. Its skills, especially spatial navigation, are highly applicable in our daily lives. “Spatial navigation refers to the ability to move around and orient in physical space,” says Nicola. “It includes understanding and remembering the layout of the environment and being able to navigate to specific locations within it. increase.”
Another example of spatial navigation is traveling through an unfamiliar city. “You need to be able to navigate your way back to your hotel, or you may want to determine the best route to see your favorite landmarks. “I’m sorry,” says Nicola. “This is actually good for the brain.”
How Orienteering Improves Brain Health
According to Nicola, there are areas of the brain that are specialized just for navigating the spatial environment. “This structure is called the hippocampus and is also known as the brain’s map reader,” she says.Combining her training for navigation with the high-intensity exercise required for orienteering can increase the volume of the hippocampus. There is a nature. Associated with better spatial memory.
“We know that the hippocampus decreases in volume with age, but regular exercise, especially high-intensity interval exercise, ensures the release of molecules called the hippocampus. BDNFis a brain growth factor that helps grow new neurons, mainly in the hippocampus,” says Nicola. is very important for
Even if you’re not ready to move through the woods instead of a game of tennis, it’s beneficial to incorporate the basic principles of orienteering into your daily routine. For example, figuring out how to get somewhere without the help of a map app.