Healthy "U" January Newsletter
by Jack Mehl, M.A.'88, Associate Director of Athletics, Head Women's Basketball Coach
As the calendar changes to another year, most people are caught up in the excitement of coming up with a New Year's resolution. The day we decide upon a resolution is a great day. We have developed extensive plans on how to implement and keep the resolution, or at least keep the resolution longer than last year! One of the most common New Year's resolutions is to "get myself in better shape." Plans are made to start a gym membership, use the treadmill, visit the fitness center (on a more regular basis), or even embark on a running program with the ultimate goal of running in a race. Most, if not all, of our resolutions dealing with getting in better shape focus simply on our physical shape and neglect our "mental fitness." While not neglecting our physical fitness, what type of activities can we do to improve our mental fitness?
For almost everyone in our society, the use of technology and its many applications has become commonplace. E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat are mainstream and many people spend multiple hours each day online using such applications. While these social programs can, and do, have a place in our daily lives, there are other applications available that can help with our quest for mental fitness. Studies have shown that exercising our mind through the use of games, yes even those online, can help with our overall fitness. Lumosity seems to be the most high profile when it comes to programs addressing our mental fitness. The site is dedicated to what they refer to as mind games to help keep the brain sharp. When first entering their site, you are given a mental fitness test, similar to the old physical fitness test, to determine your starting point. After the test, you are given an individual program that allows you to increase your mental fitness. This is done through a series of "games" and your progress is tracked and you can easily see how well you are doing. Imagine that, playing games and staying mentally sharp! There are other websites that advocate mental exercises to increase and maintain your fitness and many are free. One such site that I found interesting is AARP.
While online activities are easy to find and fun, there are many other opportunities available to exercise your mind without having to be on a computer. The Sunday crossword puzzle is always a challenge and an activity that certainly can be time consuming. Back in my college days, the crossword puzzle was done daily. The puzzle itself was certainly not a one person chore. Someone would start the puzzle and eventually reach a dead end and pass the puzzle on to others, with the ultimate goal of everyone being able to have a part in completing the puzzle. The word jumble was another great game that still is available today in some newspapers. I would classify Sudoku as one of the new classic puzzles that really stretches your reasoning and completing a puzzle labeled as difficult is certainly rewarding. There are multiple opportunities available to increase your mental awareness through the use of games and activities. As we move forward in 2015, how about trying to add a resolution to keep your mind and body in shape and look to stay sharp using your brain as much as you look to stay looking good working out in the gym!
Walk/Run to the North Pole and back. The challenge began November 3 and ends February 27. Please submit your Fitbit report to Human Resources by the end of the day, March 2 to be entered into a prize drawing. All participants' steps will be combined to reach the goal of 6,998 miles (the distance from Frederick, MD to the North Pole). Stay active and be part of the challenge!
Mindfulness Meditation - Returning this month
Relax and learn stress reduction techniques by meditating with Beth O'Malley in the McHenry Interfaith Prayer Room, Coffman Chapel basement, Mondays and Thursdays, 1:35-2:05 pm. First session will be Thursday, January 22. All are welcome!!
Yoga Classes - New Night and Time
The Dance Studio in Gambrill Gymnasium is reserved for yoga sessions Wednesday nights, 5:15-6:15 pm for the spring semester. First class begins January 21 and the last class ends April 29. Class will not be held March 11 due to spring break. Free yoga classes are sponsored by Sol Yoga.
Hood Walking Group
- Still Walking on Tuesdays
Hood's walking group leaves at noon from the fountain at Gearey Alumni Plaza (between Alumnae Hall and Hodson). The
group walks for approximately 30 minutes rain or shine.