Pioneering brain-body fitness for optimal health and longevity

SPARKD is leading the charge in integrating cognitive training into fitness regimes, reshaping how we perceive aging and well-being.

When I visited the Longevity Center in Warsaw, I undertook various tests, one of which was a cognition test. I am pleased to say that most of my results were in the upper percentile, scoring above average (well done me). However, there was one outlier in my scores which related to reaction time. And having always prided myself on having good reflexes, I was quite surprised to see this result.

It was interesting to find that actually I was quite slow on some of the tasks that perhaps a few years back I would have found easier. I was reminded of my father-in-law, who is in his 80s but still exercises regularly; he only works in a parallel motion, and I can see that his balance will be affected over time because he’s not using his proprioceptive functions. Some of the exercises I experienced and share in the article, combining peripheral vision and physical lunging could be great for somebody like him to maintain his independence and avoid hip fractures and other injuries.

Peripheral vision, processing and lunging: each post presented an arow, one was pointing in a different direction so you had to spot it and lunge to move on – scores were recorded in an app

Just as we put our muscles, joints and bones through their paces to maintain health and wellness, so too must we give our brains and cognitive skills regular work-outs.

When I attended the Longevity Supplements Conference in Singapore, I had the opportunity to meet the CEO of an interesting gym in central Singapore called SPARKD. Associated with the Chi Longevity clinic, SPARKD helps clients from the clinic continue with their longevity journeys post diagnosis, and its founder, Anna Milani, is certified Brain Health Trainer with over 20 years experience in the fitness industry.

Hitting the blue light only while standing close to the wall helps peripheral vision and reaction times.

Of course, neural plasticity is important as we get older and it was very interesting for me to experience this new category of gym – one that combines physical exercise with neural exercise to enhance both mind and body.

Milani, who is also SPARKD’s CEO explained that SPARKD is a brain body fitness gym that focuses on optimal health, longevity and performance. 

“The unique SPARKD fitness experience combines science based physical and cognitive training,” she said. “Programs are gamified, personalised and data driven. The SPARKD longevity program starts with a physical and cognitive validated test that measures processing speed, attention, memory, executive function and visual skills. The programs include balance, proprioception, core training, strength, power training, and cognitive motor training.”

Bouncing a ball at hitting the smiley face on the wall in front of you helps hand-eye-coordination while exercising aerobically.

Brain-body fitness training has been scientifically demonstrated to slow cognitive decline, enhance physical and cognitive performance, and promote neuroplasticity, contributing to a longer and healthier life. Incorporating brain-body fitness training into sustainable longevity protocols can play a key role in improving both physical and cognitive abilities, bringing significant enhancements to daily functioning and overall healthspan.

Milani says that cognitive fitness is the cornerstone of SPARKD’s approach.

“In the pursuit of longevity and brain health, we’ve embarked on a journey that transcends traditional notions of physical training,” she explains. “At SPARKD, the profound understanding is that a fit body is incomplete without a fit mind. As research continues to illuminate the intimate connection between physical activity and cognitive function,we find ourselves at the frontier of a burgeoning field – a field where physical exercise combined simultaneously with cognitive exercise serves not only to strengthen muscles but to enhance brain plasticity.” 

Catching a ball with a weight around the body, while on an undulating platform: this was fun and great for balance and concentration.

Milani adds that the growing interest in this intersection of fitness and neuroscience underscores a fundamental shift in how we perceive aging and well-being. “We’re hoping to combat the ravages of time by rewriting the script on what it means to age gracefully,” she explains. “At SPARKD, we’re not just sculpting bodies – we’re sculpting resilient brains, empowering individuals to lead lives of vitality and cognitive abundance.”

The fitness industry is always evolving, and it’s great to see this evolution in combining neural fitness with physical fitness.

There is growing awareness of the importance of mental health and this is going hand-in-hand with soaring demand for non-pharmaceutical treatments to maintain better mental health. Indeed, brain fitness solutions are gaining popularity worldwide as they provide an effective way to increase memory, focus, and other cognitive skills, and as a result, the Global Brain Fitness Market is projected to reach a value of US$ 8.11 billion by 2028 [1].

Using the Neurotracker system to track 4 balls that look like all the others in 3D space. This was challenging and is a system used for brain training and concentration – both for elders as well as financial market traders.

This growth is backed by science; a study concluded that potential total societal cost saving associated with reducing the decline in cognitive function in individuals with mild AD dementia by 50% can save up to £1133/patient in 18 months [2]. 499·2 million new cases of preventable major NCDs would occur globally by 2030 if the prevalence of physical inactivity does not change, with direct health-care costs of INT$520 billion.

It is no surprise, then, that the global Cognitive Assessment and Training market has taken off, with its size being valued at $2255.08 million in 2021 and being expected to expand at a CAGR of 33.6% during the forecast period, reaching USD 12,822.43 million by 2027 [3].

It is evident that interest in brain-body fitness and cognitive health is gaining traction. SPARKD is riding that wave and broadening its scope into longevity clinics, hotels and corporate offices. With a strategic focus, SPARKD is also extending its presence to corporate offices in Singapore and Thailand, while actively exploring opportunities in the Middle East, Europe, and the US.