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SharpBrains introduces First Online Brain Fitness Center
– Unique, Full-Service, Science-Based Fitness Center Ushers in the Next Workout Revolution: Mental Exercise –
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Thirty years after the emergence of the exercise boom, the fitness revolution has finally gone to people’s heads: SharpBrains.com has launched the first online brain fitness center. Complete with a variety of science-based mental exercise equipment, personal brain trainers, and nearly 200 articles, interactive blog postings and interviews with industry experts, SharpBrains is spearheading the evolution of the fitness industry to include a sound mind as well as a healthy body.
The new mental exercise movement is founded on using structured, computer-based brain fitness routines tailored to each member’s specific needs and level of ability. Just as crunches and kick-boxing tone abs and increase cardio strength, programs offered at the brain fitness center target and help train essential core mental muscles to improve memory, concentration, stress management, and decision-making skills. Mental exercise has also been shown to help delay the onset of age-related decline and even dementias such as Alzheimer’s Disease.
“People are realizing that cross-training their brains in addition to their bodies is essential to over-all health,” said Alvaro Fernandez, CEO and co-founder of SharpBrains. “We predict the same surge in brain exercise that occurred with physical fitness in the 70’s. Everyone from first graders to business professionals to retired adults is now focusing on the total fitness package, and the online brain fitness center offers a complete, well-rounded mental workout and support system for most needs.”
JOINING THE FITNESS CENTER
Similar to joining a physical fitness gym, visitors to SharpBrains.com are encouraged to complete a brief questionnaire to identify what their brain fitness goals are. Based on their needs, one or more brain fitness programs are suggested to help them attain those goals. If an individual seeks help in an area that SharpBrains does not presently address, such as auditory processing, SharpBrains’ non-biased evaluation may link the individual with an outside, science-based resource specific to his or her needs.
Once members receive a program either by mail or via download from a secure site, they will take one or more assessments to determine their starting level and in which areas of brain fitness they need the most help. The program then tailors the activities to the members’ needs and tracks their progress over time.
Time commitment varies with each program, but generally only 30 minutes, three times a week, are needed to achieve a program’s intended results, such as improving focus or reducing stress. And unlike a physical workout, the user’s brain will feel invigorated immediately after, not drained and tired.
EDUCATION AND COACH FEEDBACK
SharpBrains has the most complete selection of proven science-based brain programs, offering solutions for mental stimulation as well as stress management, a key inhibitor of short-term memory and judgment. The online fitness center also has the Web’s most extensive archive of educational information with 170 articles on training the brain, plus a comprehensive “Brain Fitness 101 guide” that takes members through the science of mental exercise and answers their top 25 questions with straightforward, easy-to-understand language.
In addition, the exclusive online forum educates members about the technology behind the programs and provides access to SharpBrains’ brain fitness coaches who personally answer members’ questions about the exercise programs.
“The support, information exchange and one-on-one guidance we’re able to provide is unlike anything else online,” said Neal Cohen, clinical psychologist, and SharpBrains’ head coach. “These services take us far beyond the capabilities of companies that just sell products and establish us as a complete online brain fitness center.”
SCIENCE BEHIND MENTAL EXERCISE
The brain maintains and develops its cognitive abilities through neurogenesis, the creation of new neurons and dendrites, the hair-like projections that connect each neuron to its neighbors. If these new neurons don’t stay active, they lose their connections and the body discards them. In addition, stress can inhibit their rate of creation.
“However, in the same way that physical exercise promotes muscle growth, recent research has demonstrated that targeted mental exercise promotes neurogenesis,” said Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, Clinical Professor of Neurology at New York University School of Medicine and Chief Scientific Advisor & Co-Founder of SharpBrains. “This process works most effectively through structured brain fitness training programs that utilize novelty and variety, and regularly increase their challenge to the brain. Thus over time, brain training and stress reduction are the best ways to maximize the number of neurons and dendrites that an individual creates and retains.”
Brain training can not only improve attention, memory and stress management skills in the short term, but also can delay deficits due to aging or disease in the long term. Studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and Journal of Neuroscience in 2002, 2006 and 2007 showed that mental stimulation in older adults – ranging from learning a new activity to structured mental exercise – significantly reduced their risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease.
SharpBrains presently offers several interactive computer programs targeting different mental muscles, including:
More programs are scheduled for future release.
Founded in 2006, SharpBrains is an online brain fitness center with state-of-the-art science-based information and programs to help people of all ages find and follow the best programs to meet their specific objectives. Thousands of individuals and dozens of centers are using the programs that SharpBrains is now offering. SharpBrains’ unparalleled Scientific Advisory Board is led by Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, Clinical Professor of Neurology at New York University School of Medicine, Diplomate of The American Board of Professional Psychology in Clinical Neuropsychology, author of The Executive Brain and The Wisdom Paradox, and Chief Scientific Advisor & Co-Founder of SharpBrains. Partnerships include Applied Cognitive Engineering (ACE), Cogmed, Vigorous Mind, The Institute of HeartMath and the San Francisco Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), through which SharpBrains has been offering the popular Exercising Our Brains class. For more information about Brain Fitness, SharpBrains and its associated products, please visit www.SharpBrains.com.