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In these times, it is so very easy to let the gremlins in. Gremlins come in many forms. They are, among many others, boredom, anxiety, depression, loneliness, stress, mental, and physical fatigue. Interestingly enough, there is one thing that can be prescribed to help alleviate, or at least manage, these gremlins. Fitness. Fitness is the highest recommended form of medicine for what ails you. More importantly, right now, is that fitness can increase moments of joy and your connections during these uncertain and tumultuous times. Fitness in any form will always be beneficial, whether it be physical or mental. The beautiful weather has spurred many to be as physically active as they can be inside and out. But what is being done when that hour or few are complete? When does mental fitness fit into our day?
Often we are going to try and experience new things to keep us mentally stimulated. That, in and of itself, can lead to unexpected growth, creativity, and meaning. Anything can dynamically change when we put meaning to it. Even our gremlins can take a more positive form when meaning is imparted. The brain activities listed below can keep you mentally stimulated and may, in time, lend more meaning to our current circumstances. The hope is the side effect of mental stimulation in addition to physical fitness will help you manage your gremlins in any form they come in as well as enhance the moments you are experiencing right now with a little more joy. Try them all out!
- Do math in your head. Figure out problems without the aid of pencil, paper, or computer.
- Take an online cooking class. Learn how to cook a new cuisine. Cooking uses a number of senses: smell, touch, sight, and taste, which all involve different parts of the brain.
- Learn a foreign language. The listening and hearing involved stimulates the brain. What’s more, a rich vocabulary has been linked to a reduced risk for cognitive decline. Try Babbel or Duolingo which are free language apps. Or try reading a familiar children’s book in a foreign language.
- Create word pictures. Visualize the spelling of a word in your head, then try and think of any other words that begin (or end) with the same two letters.
- Draw a map from memory. Missing a favorite destination spot? Try to draw a map of the area.
- Refine your hand-eye abilities. Take up a hobby that involves fine-motor skills, such as knitting, drawing, painting, assembling a puzzle, etc.
- Learn a new way of moving. Start doing an athletic exercise that utilizes both mind and body, such as yoga, or try to learn a new dance even if you don’t have a partner.
- Test your recall. Make a list and memorize it. An hour or so later, see how many items you can recall.
Erin Dorn, MS
Aquatic & Fitness Coordinator