US – With its new class, Equinox wants its members to train their brain as they train their body.
Although arguably all exercise is good for the brain, Equinox is making a greater connection between mind and muscle with its HeadStrong class. The class, developed by Equinox employees Michael Gervais and Kai Karlstrom, has four sections, each geared towards mindful exercise.
In the warm-up, Focus, exercisers must go through motions that take them from crawling to standing, focusing on each movement. Adapt is a section designed to encourage neuroplasticity – or the brain making new connections – by breaking away from the exercise model of routine to create sporadic movements called out at random intervals by the instructor. Willpower uses high-interval training and plyometrics, but without standard timing cues, so that exercisers have to focus on holding their planks, while Reboot brings yoga-inspired mindfulness to the cool down.
‘We don’t let our brain make new connections, we do the same thing over and over. A lunge is always a lunge,’ Karlstrom tells Well+Good. ‘You need to think more abstractly to allow for better motor control. We’re allowing people the freedom to think abstractly about movement.’
Alongside the mindfulness movement, people are coming to understand that to have more control over their bodies, they need to have control over their minds as well. For more, see our macrotrend The Optimised Self.