How to Improve Reaction Time: 8 Great Tips for Reacting Faster

Your reaction time matters in any activity you do, so improving it can aid everything that follows. Learn how to improve reaction time here.

The reaction time of most people is around 270 milliseconds. This is not set in stone for each person, though, and it is possible to get better at reacting to things in the world. So, if you are looking for ways to improve your reaction time, how would you go about doing that?

This is a very important question for many activities such as sports and gaming, so this article will help you answer it. Every section has a different option for you to investigate, so make sure you follow them to get the best results.

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What Is Reaction Time?

The term “reaction time” relates to how long it takes your body to respond to external forces in some way. This might encompass many different kinds of sensory reactions. These include responding to things you see (visual reaction time), touch, smell, or hear.

Your reaction time may be very important in several different real-life areas. It may be that your hobbies demand faster reactions, such as sports or e-gaming. Or, your job might demand such speedy responses, especially if you are often in dangerous situations.

How to Improve Reaction Time

There are many different things related to reaction time you cannot control. These include your age, specific health issues, or mental acuity. There are many ways to improve it, though.

Practice the Activity

One of the best ways for you to get a lower reaction time in a specific activity is to do it again and again. As you do so, you will start to pick up on cues you might not have otherwise that suggest something is going to happen.

At the same time, you will start to train your body’s muscle memory to respond to outside stimuli much faster. Thus, over time you can start to act without thinking about it.

Of course, this may not be possible for everyone. If your activity only occurs on occasion or is dangerous, you may not be able to do it very often. The best thing to do in this case is to find a similar activity and engage in it instead.

Sometimes, you may even be able to find an appropriate videogame or sport which gives you similar reaction training. This can help you train even when not engaged in your original activity.

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Exercise Your Body

If your body is in better shape, you will likely find you improve your reaction time without as much practice. This will be because of many different reasons.

First of all, by performing more physical exercises, your body will get used to acting faster and reacting to the world around it more. This will help you tune your muscle memory to respond to touch or sight better.

Another thing you will do is start to increase your muscle control by exercising them. If you have stronger muscles you use more often, you can start to use more fine movement. This allows you to do specific things like catch a ball or strike out at a target better.

At the same time, by exercising more, you will increase the amount of blood pumping around your body. This will improve the amount of blood your brain receives, and oxygenate all the cells in your body. By doing this, your cognition will improve and your brain will respond to the world faster.

Get Enough Sleep

When you do not receive enough sleep, your body does not have enough time to repair itself from the day’s activities. This is not only physical damage, but also mental stress that you can get rid of with sleep and relaxation.

This does not only impact physical responses, though. A lack of sleep can start to harm your ability to concentrate on anything in the world. There is no point in boosting your reaction time if you cannot even concentrate enough to do the thing you need to do.

Studies repeatedly show those with less sleep have much worse reaction times. As such, heed their warning and try to get at least eight hours of sleep each night if you want to react quickly, safely, and with precision. This will improve your time to react to the world and give you the response time you want.

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Avoid Alcohol

When someone takes alcohol into their body, it will start to move around their bloodstream and have a direct impact on their brain’s ability to react. This is because alcohol slows down the body’s ability to respond to stimuli or even process information in general.

Alcohol can even harm the body’s central nervous system, hurting a person’s muscle memory, too. This can severely reduce the hand-eye coordination of the person who drinks.

Studies show that even a blood-alcohol content level of 0.08% can slow down someone’s reaction time by as much as 120 milliseconds. This is almost 50% extra time on top of the average person (as mentioned above).

So, the best way to keep a low reaction time is to not start drinking when you need to act fast.

Eat a Healthy Diet

If you have a diet full of nutritious food, this can help your body support the brain and its functions.

You will want to have meals focused on vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These will all boost your ability to think and ensure you do not have any deficiencies.

You also want to avoid foods that are high in sugar, saturated fat, or trans fat. These will help to keep your blood sugar at a constant level. Doing so will prevent spikes or troughs in your energy levels and allow you to stay at a constant level of attentiveness.

Instead of unhealthy fats, consider healthier fats such as those found in seeds, nuts, or fruits like avocado.

The following are all good examples of foods you can incorporate into your diet to help your reaction time:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Lean proteins

Of course, maintaining a healthy diet alongside exercise will mean you can lower your weight or keep it at a healthy level easier. This can reduce the likelihood of having health problems related to weight, which could slow down how fast you react to things.

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Mental Exercises

By engaging in regular mental exercises, you can start to train your brain to process information more efficiently. This can start to help your reaction time as the mind can see and respond to the knowledge something has happened in a shorter period.

There are many different types of good mental exercises you can try, including:

Memory exercises. This means you need to remember a sequence of numbers, shapes, or letters and then repeat them correctly within a set time. You can even try repeating them back in reverse order once this becomes too easy.

Doing this helps the brain take in information and process it faster. By reducing the time limit, you can even make it harder for you and force you to get better.

Attention tests. These help your brain to stay active at all times. Games such as Memory, where you need to find pairs of hidden objects, work well for this as you need to keep a lot of information in your head at once.

Coordination work. This encourages your mind to process the information it gets in within milliseconds. You could do this by playing simple video games, such as reaction time apps, to practice acting fast after an on-screen change.

Keep Your Body Well Hydrated

When your body becomes hydrated, it starts to slow down to keep hold of the water it does have. The brain also does not act as fast if it does not have the best level of hydration. This can lead to a slower reaction time, which you can overcome by taking in enough water to return the brain’s chemistry to its preferred levels.

At the same time, hydrating has many more general benefits that can impact your reaction time. This is because becoming dehydrated can cause things such as fatigue and reduced blood flow. Solving these can help you stay alert.

Multitasking More

By performing more multitasking, you can start to train your body to react to more than one thing at once. Your reaction time needs might not always relate to something you are focusing on at any one time. So, practicing multitasking can help you split your attention and still respond fast.

If you want to practice this, you should start small. Only do two simple tasks at the same time and build up from there. Examples of this might be talking while juggling, or drawing while taking in a television show. Though, find some things you enjoy so you can do this without getting bored.

Related Read: 13 Best Productivity Tips: Advice for Boosting Quality & Output

More About How to Improve Reaction Time

By incorporating all the above methods into your life, you should have learned how to improve your reaction time. You should thus find that your reaction time starts to improve. There might still be more options to help you out, though, as every person is different.

If you want to find out more about self-improvement and becoming better at things in your life such as this, we have a blog that is perfect for you. So, check out our other articles to learn more about yourself and how you can continue to improve.

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Goodwall Team
Written By Goodwall Team
This article was written by the Goodwall team or by a contributor for publication on Goodwall. Goodwall is dedicated to helping students, entrepreneurs, and young professionals reach their full potential. We'll share thought-provoking and supportive articles on career advice, self-improvement, navigating the college landscape, climate action, social impact, and more. On the business side, we'll talk about SMB subjects related to community, diversity, talent acquisition, case studies, and enterprise.

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