As the world faces the risk of a mental health pandemic, ASICS renews its commitment to move minds through sport
As the world faces the risk of a mental health pandemic, ASICS has announced its renewed commitment to use the power of sport to uplift the world. In 2021 and beyond, the brand will support more people to experience the transformative power of sport, not just on the body but on the mind. Through research and innovation, and by supporting projects that get people moving for positive physical and mental wellbeing, ASICS is committed to moving body and mind.
ASICS, an acronym of the Latin phrase Anima Sana In Corpore Sano or a Sound Mind in a Sound Body, has always believed in the positive impact of sport on the mind. ASICS’ founder, Kihachiro Onitsuka, saw that sport had the ability to bring hope and lift spirits in 1940’s Japan. Today, the brand’s founding philosophy is perhaps more relevant than ever before. Which is why the company is returning to its roots and putting “Sound Mind, Sound Body” at the core of its business.
In 2021, ASICS will undertake a landmark research project into the positive impact of sport on mental wellbeing. It will use cutting-edge biometric technology to capture the true effect of sport on the minds of thousands of participants around the world.
Ahead of the research project’s full roll-out, the brand has also conducted an initial feasibility study involving a group of elite athletes – including British Olympic runner and European Triathlon Champion Beth Potter – and everyday athletes as a basis for comparison.
Overseen by Dr Brendon Stubbs, a leading exercise and mental health researcher based at King’s College, London, the study measured a series of brain pathways known to influence the emotional and cognitive elements of mental wellbeing.
And it found that after a short amount of physical activity, the everyday athletes experienced an overall emotional uplift, including up to a 29% improvement in their ability to cope with stress and up to an 18% increase in their relaxation levels.
They also reported a significant drop in negative emotions like frustration (up to 135%) and were up to 28% less prone to making rash decisions and reacting negatively to challenges or disruption.
When it comes to the brain pathways associated with cognitive performance, the everyday athletes again demonstrated a significant uplift after a brief amount of sport. This included up to a 26% increase in brain processing speed, up to a 21% improvement in memory and as much as a 58% reduction in their levels of cognitive stress, some of the symptoms of which are anxiety, forgetfulness and disorganisation.
Interestingly, both emotional and cognitive uplifts were greater amongst everyday athletes than amongst the elite ones.
Following this initial feasibility study, ASICS is continuing to conduct the experiment with both everyday and elite athletes. The findings of this research project will be used to develop future innovations that unlock the mental benefits of sport and exercise for athletes of all levels.
ASICS is coming together with its athletes – including Kiryu Yoshihide, Noëlle Roorda and Henri Shoeman, – to issue an open invitation to people around the world to join their mission to uplift the world. Using sunrise as a symbol of hope, ASICS is encouraging people everywhere to kick start the New Year by moving at sunrise to spread positivity, and raise awareness of the importance and impact sport has on the mind. From today, hundreds of ASICS athletes, ambassadors and employees will move at sunrise.
Dr Brendon Stubbs, a leading exercise & mental health researcher, based at King’s College London says: “It is impossible to overstate just how significant the impact sport and exercise have on our mind. It’s absolutely vital that people regularly move their body to experience those all-important cognitive and emotional benefits for themselves. Never has there been a more important time to become active and experience the mental health benefits sport and movement bring.”
President & Chief Operating Officer of ASICS Yasuhito Hirota said, “We know COVID-19 has put even more pressure on the wellbeing of millions of people. We also know and believe that sport and movement can lift spirits and help people feel better. For us, 2021 is about unlocking the unique power of sport to uplift our minds. That starts with encouraging people everywhere to move with us at Sunrise and will continue throughout the year as we demonstrate our commitments to our founding philosophy of a sound mind, sound body.”