Studies have shown that visual skills can be subjected to exertion during exercise, thus implying that entrainment of vision is possible through interaction with the environment. It has been established that by simply participating in physical activity, one naturally improves visual awareness as well as visual processing skills and visual-motor integration. The purpose of the present study was to examine the changes in various visual skills during a 20-week military basic training programme. The training included cardio-respiratory endurance, fitness, muscular strength
(upper body and abdominal), muscular endurance, speed, power, agility and flexibility. The participants (n=234) consisted of both male and female recruits who were enrolled for basic training at the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). Only those recruits who complied with the inclusion criteria and were willing to give informed consent participated in the study. The data collection occurred before the onset of the basic training programme and again after 12 and 20 weeks of intensive training. This schedule was proposed in order to ensure the specific requirements demanded by the various tests, and to observe the rate at which the visual skills and physiological parameters changed. The improvement of various visual skills observed in this research provides evidence that physical exercise, along with an enhanced state of physical fitness, does have a positive effect on visual proficiency.
These findings could be elucidated by an alteration in the neuronal architecture, which subsequently leads to faster decision making, as well as a quicker and more efficient motor response.