Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Is your game off?


I had blogged about the effects of OGA (Online Go Anxiety). Some of you had also reported suffering from RLGA (Real-Life Go Anxiety). As you've probably suspected, any anxiety makes you play worse.

Research presented by Mark Ashcroft, a psychologist at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, shows that Math Anxiety - feelings of dread and fear and avoiding math - can impair the brain's working capacity. Ergo, worrying about how you'll perform in a math test can undermine your performance.

Try to keep that in mind (or not) the next time you play a match.

Stay Fit
I've known for a long time that exercise can lift one's mood and suspected that it can boost brainpower. Now a new study shows that it builds new brain cells in a region linked with memory and memory loss.

Yet another good reason to maintain balance in one's life; playing Go and staying fit.

Speaking of fitness

I changed my workout at the beginning of the year to add a regular squat routine.

No, not the leg-press machines but real "bar-on-your-back-with-the-potential-to-crush-you" squats. Squats with heavy weights that make you break into a sweat on the second repetition. Squats that make you feel your heart thump.

Michael Mejia and John Berardi, fitness trainers who write for Men's Health, strongly recommend squat routines as the best way to induce overall muscle development. As they describe it, a squat puts stress on the entire body, treating it as a whole organism. Machines by contrast, isolate specific muscles.

I stopped doing squats back in late high school after the gym acquired a leg-press machine. Sure, it was safer and I could do heavier weights; but in retrospect, the switch did less for promoting muscle development.


At 10:48 AM, March 14, 2007, Blogger Alejo said...

There is one thing I want to mention in relation with your exercise. I'm not an English language expert, so I understand that you are trying to build some muscles by using squats (something which I understood to be of a great weight).

I understand that you're going to have great muscles, but it won't benefit your health at all. You are doing what is called "anaerobic" exercise, which helps increasing your muscle amount and ratio, but it won't help your heart and cholesterol as much as "aerobic" exercise would do.
Anaerobic means that you can't breath enough for you body while making the exercise. Aerobic is right the opposite.

Example: if you run 100 metres at top speed, you won't be able to inspire all the needed oxygen. That's anaerobic.
If you run 2000 metres at a speed you are comfortable with, you'll be doing aerobic exercise.

Aerobic exercise would help your health, your fitness and, according to these studies, your amount of brain cells at the hippocampus.

If you don't trust me (by the way, I studied medicine), you can ask your trainer about this topic.

At 10:57 AM, March 14, 2007, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

No worries alejo. I do 35 minutes of cardio in each workout session at (slightly more than) 85% my maximum heart rate.

I was a runner before I began increasing my ratio of anaerobic to aerobic routines.

At 6:51 AM, March 18, 2007, Blogger ilanpi said...

Hi there. Have you thought of doing one legged squats? The advantages are that you use much less weight, thereby protecting your back from injury, and you practice your balance. Apparently, this exercise is highly recommended for runners. The main point is that a squat of weight N is equivalent to a one legged squat of weight (N - upper body weight)/2. For example, a squat of 100kg would only require 20kg for a one legged squat, assuming you weigh about 75kg. So you don't need to go to a gym for the equipment and you don't need a person to spot you (use a chair below you for security). -ilan

At 7:04 AM, March 18, 2007, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

Hello Ilan,

I've only done one-legged presses on a machine. It's an interesting suggestion.

I think that I'll stick to regular squats for now. As I've read, the main benefit of the squat is to put considerable stress on the whole body (legs and upper torso) in order to release more muscle-producing hormones than an isolation exercise.

At 10:08 AM, March 20, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I prefer dead-lifts to squats (no need for a spotter). But the general idea is the same, get your whole body involved in a lift.

Exercise helps you focus on any tasks. Nice writeup... the drawing is fun too.

(Anonymous because I'm too lazy to see if I can login)

At 3:06 PM, March 21, 2007, Blogger ilanpi said...

OK, but keep in mind that squats with heavy weights are the best way to ruin your back for life, if you even slightly depart from perfect form. I tried to do a squat with moderate weights once, and that was it, I felt as if I was 1 inch shorter due to all the compression on my spine. Right now, I only do one leg squats with up to 8kg weight and one leg wall sits, I never go to a gym. See you! -ilan


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