Exercise to Help Exercise: Cognitive Training
Recently, many people have started practicing cognitive training, an exercise that helps you exercise. Let's take a closer look at cognitive training, which improves flexibility through individual cognition and minimal movement.
While working as a beauty editor, I tried every exercise that was popular—Pilates, yoga, EMS, Gyrotonic. But no matter what I tried, I was told my muscles were naturally short and my body was stiff. I didn’t see or feel any improvement.
I’d been doing Pilates for 3 years, but when it was time to move on to the advanced class, I didn’t think I could do it. That’s when I learned about a cognitive training program called Nuiit. It is a new exercise method based on stretching and the reinterpretation of many known movements. Named after Nuii training, it combines “Nuii” in Korean which means “world,” and “training.”
The core of this exercise is to understand the mechanism of your body to improve flexibility and range of motion though minimal movement. Nuii became famous when Korean celebrities, such as Um Ji-won and artist Choi Ha-neul, posted photos on social media. It became popular for people who lack flexibility and have trouble with different postures or movements, and for professional athletes who want to improve their performance.
For example, people with frozen shoulders who practice Pilates end up exercising the wrong way because their arms don’t extend properly. And those who try Tanz Play but cannot split their legs face challenges because they have difficulty executing desired movements. Daily habits, such as sitting or standing for long periods of time and frequently looking at screens, lead to the weakening of unused muscles. This will eventually dull the sensory cells and cause the wrong muscles to be used instead.
Nuiit helps you recognize muscles in different areas of your body. With massage balls and foam rollers, it helps stimulate muscles and relaxes the fascia. It is constructed to help you correct an area of your body after looking at your movements. Since each body is different, Nuiit is conducted through 1:1 tutoring sessions or a small group class of up to seven people. For those who want more detailed correction, I recommend a 2:1 class (2 instructors and 1 learner). You can film the class and get written comments about your performance, which leads to faster improvement.
For me, I always had trouble bending my back or spreading my legs because of my short and tight hamstrings on the back of my thighs. In my first class, I learned how to relax my feet with a massage ball, and my lymph nodes in the front of my thighs and my groin muscles with a foam roller. It’s not simply about spreading or stretching your legs. Nuiit helps you stimulate, relax, and move the muscles that are connected to achieve a desired movement.
I found it interesting that by stimulating my body with the help of my instructor, I was able to be aware of each muscle in my leg. And once I was able to recognize this, I could stretch and move my legs in ways I couldn’t before. Bae Joon-mi, President of Nuii Studio, explained, "Stretching doesn't necessarily make your body flexible. The key to Nuiit lies in self-awareness. A brain-dead patient cannot move his or her body even though the body itself isn’t hurt. Our brain and body are closely connected, and the parts of the brain that sense and respond are no longer functioning. Recognizing and using the areas where the senses have become dull can activate the body, which can help activate the brain.”
Since Nuiit is an exercise that helps exercise, it doesn't produce visible results like learning golf or tennis. However, I believe it is a true luxury to be aware of your body, focus on what needs improvement, and systematically make it better.