Asics wants to show people the impact that fitness can have on their own minds — and it’s turning to research to prove it.
To mark Global Running Day, the sportswear brand announced the launch of Mind Uplifter — a platform that runners can use to capture their pre- and post-run mental wellbeing. Using a combination of facial scanning technology and self-reported data collection, they will be able to see how participating in running and other sports can affect them across 10 emotional and cognitive metrics, including confidence, positivity and focus.
According to Asics, the data will feed into a live global study to create an interactive World Uplift Map, which will be able to track the so-called “collective mood” of cities, countries and even continents.
“As we all come to terms with a much-changed world in the wake of the pandemic, the uplifting power of sport is a constant that endures,” president and COO Yasuhito Hirota said in a statement. “That’s why our sole ambition is to empower as many people as possible to experience the physical and mental benefits of movement.”
He added, “By taking part in any number of our different events and activities running across the year, you’ll contribute to vital research to help us further understand the uplifting effect of sport.”
Over the past six months, Asics has worked in partnership with King’s College London researcher Dr. Brendon Stubbs and San Francisco-based bioinformatics firm EMOTIV to develop a study focused on those core emotional and cognitive metrics among a sample of 42 professional and novice athletes. It found that participants who completed a 20-minute run saw a 15.9% increase in calmness, 14.3% rise in levels of contentment, 13.4% improvement in alertness and 13.3% in relaxation.
“Our preliminary research findings outline the profound impact that something as simple as a 20-minute run can have on our minds,” Stubbs said. “With exercise playing such a valuable role in maintaining of our mental health and wellbeing, it is more important than ever that people can see and understand the positive link between the two.”
To use the platform, Asics has invited people to visit a dedicated Mind Uplifter page, scan their face, answer questions and complete at least 20 minutes of an exercise of their choosing. Then, they’re invited to complete another facial scan and questionnaire before getting their results and sharing them on social media using the hashtag #UpliftingMinds.
The brand is also hosting a World Uplifting Minds Run, as well as a series of other sporting events across the year to encourage broader participation.