The benefits of having fast reaction times

Reflex is an almost instantaneous movement in response to certain stimuli. For example, if someone throws a ball at you, your arms might involuntarily move to a position to catch that piece of sports equipment. This action takes place even before your brain registers to move your hands to catch the ball.

There are several benefits to having fast reaction times. Here are three of those advantages.

1. Get better at sports

Improving your reaction time might need weeks, months, or years of training. But, the benefits acquired from all the rigorous exercises promote faster reflexes, among many other advantages. As a result, athletes can make split-second decisions to help them land more points than opposing players.

The following are a few sports activities that can benefit from fast reaction times:


Running across a large field while you’re dribbling the ball with your feet may already require a significant amount of brainpower. But, training to have faster reaction speeds might help remove some of that stress felt in your mind during a soccer match. Quick reflexes allow you to evade incoming attackers trying to steal your ball. Also, if you move and think fast enough, you can change the direction of your kick to let the ball land on the opposite side of the goal to avoid the goalkeeper successfully.


Your opponents in boxing will be throwing punches at you from the left, right, and bottom. If you have fast reflexes, you can defend against those hard-hitting blows. React slowly, and you might be feeling the full force of a punch that can knock you out. Also, fast reaction times allow you to evade blows and counter with another hit that might win you the match.


Like soccer, you need brainpower to remain focus on the game. Otherwise, you might find yourself holding the ball instead of dribbling it (which will give you a foul). So, it would be best if you thought about dribbling the ball, evading opposing players, and getting within shooting range before you can shoot. Train yourself to be mentally flexible so you can make on-the-spot decisions that can benefit the team. If not, then you might lose the ball to the opposing team before you can react quickly.


If you are a fielder in the slips, you need to be very sharp with your reflexes to catch the ball when needed, either to stop the batsman from scoring or to get him out. Fielders at the stumps also need to react very fast when the batsmen are running between wickets to try and get a wicket. If you are a wicket-keeper, your quick reflexes, together with excellent hand-eye coordination, are your key strengths — the faster you react, the greater your success, whether it is stumping or catching the ball to claim a wicket or running out a batsman sprinting towards the striker’s end.

Other sports that can benefit from fast reaction times include hockey, tennis, and skateboarding. It’s critical to practice frequently to train your mind and muscles to react quickly enough to help you become better at athletic activities.

2. Defend yourself from attackers

Imagine the following scenario: you’re walking on the street casually. Then, out of nowhere, an attacker throws a punch at you in an attempt to steal your belongings.

Even if you don’t have martial arts training, you can still avoid the full blow of the attack if you have a fast reaction time. Perhaps, you can block or evade the incoming attack. Conversely, you can also run at the beginning of the attack to avoid that encounter and call for help.

Another way quick reflexes can help you keep your belongings is to grip your item firmly before the thief can make a run for it. Thus, it would help if you made an effort to be conscious of your surroundings.

Creating a mental note that there might be someone lurking in the shadows will help prepare your mind and body in case of an attack. So, you can react quickly if a malicious person attempts to steal your stuff or hurt you physically. 

3. Catch things before they fall

Dealing with fragile equipment may put an enormous strain on your mind. For example, you’re trying to deliver a tray of fine china from the kitchen counter to the dining table. One wrong move and the dinnerware can fall to the ground. You watch in horror as you see your investment break into several tiny pieces.

But, if you have a fast reaction time, you might catch these things before they hit the ground. Thus, it saves you from sweeping bits of broken material off the floor.

Another scenario is when you might accidentally knock a glass of liquid. If you’re quick enough, you can catch the container before it tips.

3 ways to develop fast reaction times

It might not be possible to train your body and mind to react fast if you’re not doing any exercise. So, if you’re someone who finds it challenging to think on your feet, continue reading to help you develop quicker reflexes.

1. Sprints

Jogging around the neighborhood can be an excellent exercise. But, if you want to train your reflexes, you might need to transform a leisurely jog to sprints. Sprinting will help test your reactions to specific stimuli. You can also change the sprinting signals at random to help assess your limits and break through them.

2. Off-road running

Another method to test and train your reaction times is by running on an uneven terrain. For instance, you can run on a forest trail where there might be logs, stones, and rough land formations to evade. You need to force your body to respond to your mind’s signals faster, thereby helping you develop faster reflexes.

3. Plyometrics

Plyometrics or jump training helps the body enhance its reflexes, along with improving your body and power control. Split lunges and squat jumps are examples of plyometric exercises.

These training routines help your muscles exert maximum force when needed. Follow the correct form of these exercises to help your body develop strength, power and great reflexes.


Several benefits are in store if you start training your body and mind to react faster to specific stimuli. As a bonus, you might also help your brain prevent cognitive decline. It’s because your brain might be continually sending signals to prepare your body to react when needed. So, you’re not only exercising your body during reflex training, but you might be unconsciously exercising your mind as well. Thus, it’s essential not to overlook reaction speed. You can use the skills you develop in sports and everyday life.