Speedcubing is viewed as a hobby more than a sport, but at the highest levels of competition, it is nothing less than a sport. Just like other sports, speedcubing involves a combination of both mental and physical awareness and application. It is a confluence of tailored thoughts and pattern recognition, along with efficient hand movements and execution.
As one moves from learning how to solve the Rubik’s Cube for the first time to, say, finally getting their first solve under 20 seconds, the entire paradigm shifts. It goes from simply solving the cube in the most straightforward method possible to solving it as efficiently and quickly as possible. The distinction between cubing and speedcubing comes from the application of this method to solve the cube in the shortest time possible.
Now, there are many benefits of speedcubing, some of which cannot even be quantified. It grows through passion into a competitive sport that provides an environment conducive to the growth of both the mental and physical aspects of a speedcuber. This brings us to the key point of this article, and helps us understand better why we do what we do as speedcubers.
The benefits of speedcubing are not limited to either the mind or the body. While it is true that there is no ‘intense’ physical exertion involved in speedcubing competitively, the exercise is of the mind and the hands as well. The recognition of cases and identification of algorithms is the work of the mind and the execution of these during a solve is the work of the body.
Example of memorizing algorithm
It is known that speedcubing can help improve your cognitive skills, motor skills and hand-eye coordination to a great extent. These boost your brain development, especially at earlier ages. This boosted brain activity helps exercise the mind and serves as a good and productive usage of the mind. The hand-eye coordination also helps with performing other common activities with relative ease.
The development of cognitive skills helps the brain to be more attentive, increasing the attention span of the human manifold. It also helps in quicker grasping of concepts, better streams of thoughts towards a solution and improve the memory of the individual greatly. Motor skills provide the additional physical benefits that are then able to be applied in other fields such as sports, academics, etc.
In fact, this is one of the reasons countries like China encourage kids to learn how to solve the cube at an early age, and this is facilitated by holding classes for these students. The benefits are felt at younger ages which is why we see so many fast speedcubers originating from China, and so many more young upcoming cubers all from there.
When it comes to the body, speedcubing helps strengthen the mind-muscle connection and inculcates the development of the muscles in the hand, forearm and fingers. Along with this, all the joints in the hand region are kept active and healthy which is useful when it comes to keeping fit. Aside from the hands, speedcubing is an exercise of the eyes, since they need to be alert and show quick responses to stimuli. This improves the strength of the muscles in the eyes too.
Example of Hand-Eye Coordination
The ‘speed’ element of speedcubing is brought about when both the mind and body function in harmony and work together to improve all the aspects discussed above. In addition to this, the brain releases certain hormones when we cube which help in bodily processes as well. These hormones are also released when performing any other activity that one may find fun.
When we break personal bests, the release of hormones such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin is very beneficial to mental health. It helps boost the overall mood of the individual and provides a great incentive to continue improving at the activity. It basically forms a cycle of practice, success, striving for more success, practice, and so on.
So, the common misconception that speedcubing only leads to the development of the mind or just the body needs to be broken by understanding the benefits it has on the other. It may not develop your muscles like other activities such as body-building, outdoor sports or athletics might, but it is sure to bring about long-term benefits when combined with moderate amounts of general exercise.
Naren Ramesh on breaking NR
The speedcubing revolution can bring about a change in your life, with regards to both physical and mental aspects. So, what are you waiting for? Buy your first cube now, and get started on your wonderful speedcubing journey where you will be enlightened and enriched! It will truly change your life in a positive way by being added to your lifestyle, both by mind and by body.Akshaansh