US Army Mulls Brain Endurance Training for Soldiers

The US Army could soon require its soldiers to undergo brain endurance training to up their performance in pressure combat situations.

The potential move draws lessons from a six-week brain conditioning course in which a group of soldiers performed mentally demanding tasks to help build their mental and physical resilience.

Troops who were given low to moderate memory tasks reportedly displayed twice the improvement in endurance and performance compared to those who were assigned very easy brain tasks.

This positive result has motivated researchers at the Army Medical Research and Development Command to consider applying the approach on a broader basis and with high-intensity intervals.

The proposed brain exercise is said to closely mimic the Army Combat Fitness Test but with a focus on cognitive training.

“We’re excited about where this research will take us, but the challenge is to create something truly innovative and impactful for service members’ brain health and performance,” Army research scientist Brad Fawver said.

Potential Implications

During the experiment, soldiers performed routine brain exercises, such as recalling certain sequences before, during, and after a strenuous activity.

At the end of the initiative, Fawver said some physically fit troops were able to run up to 15 minutes longer on a brain test that they previously failed to complete.

“This gives us the confidence to evaluate more complex and challenging training approaches” tailored to soldiers’ individual needs and goals, he said.

Once implemented, the brain endurance exercise is expected to help troops perform better under stress or while fatigued, and also benefit their overall physical well-being.

It could also make soldiers more resilient to anxiety, physical stress, and other operational demands on the battlefield.

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