University of Florida researchers recently reported that brain games while cycling can improve thinking ability and boost speed by 25 percent. So you get to have more fun, pump up your brain and enjoy significantly more physical benefits.
The researchers asked a group of older adults to use stationary bicycles while performing mental tasks that ranged from saying "go" whenever a blue star appeared on a screen to solving math problems. They discovered a sweet spot of difficulty that was just challenging enough to keep brains occupied but just simple enough to not interrupt the workout.
Imagine your brain as an engine. Certain physical activities (walking, running, dancing) ask for a lot of your brain's power to calculate stride, balance, limb coordination and more. Other activities (cycling, squats, push-ups) require less brain power because they're simple to do. The trick is to multitask by pairing a simple physical activity with a more challenging brain task or pairing a complicated physical activity with an easier brain task. You want the engine running at full power but not overheating.
Finding that balance might seem tough, but you don't have to do it alone. Here are four easy ways you can work your brain and body together for more fitness firepower.
Group fitness classesProviding a variety of exercises that keep participants' minds humming is part of a group fitness instructor's job. Classes like yoga, BOOM and Zumba all are designed to improve strength and cardiovascular health while engaging participants' minds with instructions and coordinated movements.
Working with an instructor and classmates, your brain is treated to social interaction, changing paces, different physical poses and new exercises that keep things interesting.
PodcastsIf you prefer to exercise on your own, try pairing stationary cycling or a treadmill workout with a podcast.
Podcasts are pre-recorded audio shows you can download on portable devices, such as smartphones or tablets. Whether you're interested in sports, history, music, movies, trivia or news, there's a podcast for you.
You'll be amazed how quickly a 30-minute walk passes when you're being entertained and informed by your favorite podcast. To find podcasts, use an online service such as iTunes or SoundCloud.
HikingThe changing landscapes of hikes are a natural way to keep your mind busy. Wildlife and plant life provide an interesting backdrop for your eyes, and adjusting to terrain keeps your muscles guessing and your brain focused on balance.
To make things more interesting, incorporate a camera for snapping photos on your hikes. Or bring binoculars along for bird-watching. Linking the names and characteristics of the world around you is a terrific way to busy your mind while you're working your body.
SportsAre you competitive person? Do you enjoy teamwork? Playing a sport could be the perfect fit for you. Sports like softball, pickleball and golf improve your muscle tone, endurance and motor skills while also engaging your mind in strategy, calculation and positioning.
If you've played a sport before and enjoyed it, why not start again in an adult league or organize friends to play?
Or, if you're looking to try a sport you haven't played, ask friends who may have played. Some key factors to consider when choosing a sport include:
- What sort of experience, skills, or fitness are needed to start?
- Do you need to purchase any special equipment?
- Where is the sport played? Can you play locally?
- What time are practices or games scheduled? Are there evening or weekend options that work with your schedule?
- Are there fees associated with participation in teams or leagues?
- What is the best way for a beginner to get involved?
Source: http://www.msn.com/en-us/health, https://www.healthwaysfit.com/