Boosting Brain Power: Baseball and the Unexpected Benefits

Player chewing gum during a baseball game.

This summer, I embarked on a 3-week journey to the US. Being an avid sports enthusiast, the US is the ideal vacation spot. In my second week, I experienced the thrill of a baseball game. Delving deeper into its nuances after returning home, I discovered baseball offers cognitive advantages for the brain.

Read more: Boosting Brain Power: Baseball and the Unexpected Benefits

Discovering American Sports Culture:

Deep-rooted in American ethos is a love for sports. Ironically, while the US battles with obesity, their sports arenas are brimming with fervor. Unlike the Netherlands, where soccer reigns supreme, in the US, basketball, ice hockey, football, and baseball are the crowd-pleasers. Eager to immerse ourselves in this passion, we attended a face-off between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals. This ‘derby’ baseball match was a spectacle lasting over three hours. Contrasting Dutch football matches, American baseball games exude camaraderie. Fans intermingle, cheering freely. Whereas a massive police presence is standard outside Dutch stadiums, in the US, the number of patrolling officers is minimal, creating a family-friendly environment.

Baseball’s Surprising Brain Boost:

The primary question: why is baseball beneficial for the brain? The answer might surprise you. Chewing tobacco is intrinsic to baseball. Players chew it, primarily to counteract the dusty fields. These days, conspicuous chewing is discouraged due to health concerns. However, the act of chewing enhances brain functionality. Comparable to our leg muscles, our jaw muscles are potent. Just as walking elevates heart rate, so does chewing, optimizing brain blood flow, particularly in areas essential for motor skills and cognition. A recent study highlighted the positive impacts of chewing on cognitive abilities.

The Healthier Cognitive Boost:

While chewing tobacco is popular in baseball, there’s a simpler and healthier method to enhance cognition: chewing gum. By merely chewing gum, you can stimulate your brain, proving beneficial for any sportsperson.

Concluding with the thrilling match, against all odds, the Cubs overturned a 0-2 deficit to clinch a 3-2 victory. The exhilaration echoing through the stands is transcendent, a sentiment resonating beyond boundaries and sports.

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