ASICS has a new app called Mind Uplifter and it involves scanning your face after a workout. Having your sweaty and exhausted face might not sound like something you want to do but I tried it and it was quite interesting.
Hopefully by now everyone knows that exercising is not only good for your body but also your mind. In a 2005 study (opens in new tab), researchers at the University of Bristol showed that "moderate regular exercise should be considered as a viable means of treating depression and anxiety and improving mental well-being in the general public." But how does exercising affect your mental wellbeing? You can find out by taking part in the "world’s first live study" into the impact of movement on the mind, courtesy of ASICS.
The study utilises the new Mind Uplifter Tool (opens in new tab) that uses a combination of facial scanning technology and self-report data collection to find out what effect your latest workout had on you. People will be able to capture the impact of sport across 10 emotional and cognitive metrics such as alertness, focus, confidence and more. This data will feed into a live global study, capturing individual 'Mind Uplifts' from around the world and visually transforming them into an interactive 'World Uplift Map'.
According to ASICS, the aim of the study is to "uplift a million minds around the world" and to "showcase the positive impact that sport is having on the collective mood of cities, nations and the world as a whole." This latter data will also be displayed on the 'World Uplift Map', available in the Mind Uplifter app from July.
The 'live study' was inspired by a more old-school scientific research ASICS conducted over the past six months to "explore the impact of sport on the mind among a select group of athletes." Unlike the live study you can take part in, this preliminary study used a combination of EEG and self-report data collection to prove the positive impact of running on the mind.
And although ASICS is most well-known for designing and manufacturing some of the best running shoes in the world, any type of exercise will count towards your mind uplift, not just running, as long as the workout session is at least 20 minutes long.
And just to make sure the app works properly, I gave the Mind Uplifter a go to see how my monster triceps workout affected my mood and energy levels. As it turned out, doing an 50-minute-long strength workout doesn't leave you fully energised: who would've thought?
Using the app was simple (the process is explained below) and for those who are concerned about the GDPR-implications of scanning their own face, the Mind Uplifter app doesn't actually take a picture of the face, merely observes your expression using. It's a bit like the face-unlock feature on smartphones from what I can tell.
As for the questions, you're asked the same six before and after the workout, such as 'How composed do you feel right now?', and you must rate it from a scale of 1-10. After the questionnaire, a timer shows up and you perform your workout, leaving the browser running in the background. Once done, you scan the face again and answer the questions, then get presented with the results. Fun!
How to take part in the Mind Uplift live study
Taking part in ASICS' live study can't be easier. To start, head over to the Mind Uplifter web app (opens in new tab) to capture your 'Mind Uplift' by scanning your face to read your emotional state. Then, answer a few questions to gauge your brain function and complete at least 20 minutes of exercise to 'uplift your mind'. Scan your face again and fill out the questionnaire after the workout and you're done!
World Uplift Map will be available from 1 July 2021 where you can see how your results contributed to the mood of city and nation you live in.
Every Mind Uplift shared with the tag #UpliftingMinds on social media will raise funds for mental health charity Mind to help provide services for people experiencing mental health problems. As well as that, ASICS will host a series of Uplifting Minds events across the year to encourage wider participation and "prove the power of all sports to uplift the mind", starting with the London 10K on 25 July 2021.