22 Apr Mental fitness: tips and exercises for young and old
Mental fitness is more important than ever during the ongoing corona crisis. Especially in exceptional situations like this, you should not only train your body but also your mind. We have therefore asked our BLUEf!t Manager Lars Löwe for his best tips on how to improve your personal and your family’s mental fitness.
Lars, why is mental fitness so important for us?
To explain this, we must first take a brief look at what mental fitness actually means and what it encompasses. Mental fitness is also called mental health. Psyche is the system of human perception and thinking. The soul is the totality of emotions and mental processes. It is the expression of the psyche.
Factors influencing mental health include personal circumstances, genetics, as well as cultural, economic, social and environmental factors. Mental health expresses itself here as positive or negative feelings, as well-being or discomfort.
Contact or curfew restrictions mean that others decide our lives. The social realm, whether at work or in our recreational time, is heavily restricted or disappears completely. Added to this are insecurity, uncertainty and possibly even existential fears. It is now important to take care of our own mental health and that of our fellow men.
Which exercises can help to improve mental fitness?
For the performance of the brain, nothing is worse than routine. Without new stimuli, structures that are not needed are dissolved. The performance decreases in the long run.
To train the brain, it needs new and unknown stimuli. By training the brain, new contact points, the so-called synapses, are formed. They connect the nerve cells. Stimuli that are conducted via the nerve tracts can now be transported more quickly. This increases performance. So it makes sense to learn for a lifetime.
Learning is very diverse, there are countless possibilities. Because everything that is new for the brain supports the learning process. This can be reading a book, translating a song text or doing a crossword puzzle.
It becomes more challenging if you use the time to learn a new musical instrument. But perhaps you can also become familiar with the languages of your next holiday destination.
If you like it a bit more practical, you can also train your brain with physical exercises. This has the double effect. Because not only mental fitness is required, but also the body.
We have summarized some exercises in a video for you:
How can we relax when the tension of our thoughts sometimes becomes too much?
Very often we forget to take time for ourselves. We are there for everyone but ourselves. We run at full speed and use up our reserves without feeling it. Only when our performance drops or when we are annoyed, easily stressed or even become aggressive do we eventually notice that we have overworked. About time to do something for our mental fitness. After all, how can we help others if we are overworked and exhausted and need help ourselves?
Stress is like sports, the body and the brain need time to relax and recharge their batteries. It is often believed that stressful times push our performance limits and make us more resistant to stress, but this is not true. During the stressful phase, our performance and therefore our mental fitness decreases. Only if the body is given enough time to recover, the old performance capacity is rebuilt and even increased in the subsequent recovery phase.
Do you have any specific tips for our readers?
- Go for a walk and take a deep breath.
- Find moments when you can be alone.
- Find a relaxation method that will help you. There are countless of these methods, but not every method suits everyone. The best way to find out is on the Internet. Especially on YouTube you can find countless of these methods. Choose one or two of them, and use regularly. Techniques include autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation and dream journeys.
Boredom is also a common problem related to mental health. What do I do when I have binged every series and completed every fitness course?
The best tip is: Learn to deal with boredom! In our everyday life we are often very stressed and run from one appointment to another. And in the free time available to us, we often set ourselves appointments: Visiting friends, going shopping, going to the next event or sitting in front of the TV on time in the evening so as not to miss the show. But when are we ever actively alone? Certainly it will be difficult at first to get involved in this peace and quiet. It comes and seems strange. But it is actually nothing bad at all. It gives us the opportunity to deal with ourselves. To listen more to what the body actually wants. Learning to deal with boredom means to reflect on oneself again, to perceive oneself and to strengthen mental fitness. Once you have taken the first steps and have overcome the negative feelings that were initially felt, the time available to us is no longer felt as boredom, but as a wonderful time out to be at peace with yourself.
Do you have any other tips for better mental fitness, Lars?
- Organise your everyday life regularly and responsibly.
- If you work from home, you should dress as if you were at work.
- Set and keep appointments!
- If you have children, plan enough time for them. In the best case, you can take turns with your partner.
- Healthy diet. Buy high quality products.
- Cook your own meals, maybe even together with your family.
- Focus on the positive things:
- Time with family
- No commute to work
- Time for inner peace and to reflect on oneself
- Time for hobbies
- Connect with your friends and family and make phone calls.
- Go for a walk. This is not only distracting, but also strengthens the immune system.
- Board and card games with the family. You can also use the internet to play with friends and family.
And what do you recommend for families with children?
The situation is particularly bad for children, as they often do not understand what is really happening. While yesterday they were allowed to go to school, play with friends and rave around in the playground, all this is now forbidden. Children like to move around, children want to learn, they also need new inspiration.
Sport offers a good opportunity here too. Why not do the sports activities together for once? Why not hold a small sporting Olympics?
There are numerous ideas for this and time flies:
- Multipurpose bottles bowling: The multipurpose bottles serve as cones which have to be cleared with the help of a ball.
- Towel race: The child sits on a large towel. This towel is pulled through the apartment. Fun for the children and extreme sports for the parents.
- Toilet paper toss: Instead of tins, you take toilet paper and try to hit it with a small ball.
- Obstacle parkour through the flat
- Chairs, tables, benches, blankets and anything else that seems useful is converted into an adventure parkour. The child goes through this Parkour, the parent secures.
- Child-dumbbell: Push Ups and Squats, there are a lot of exercises where the child can sit as weight on the back of the exerciser.
- Balance: Straps and cables can be laid out to balance on them. They can also be used to divide the floor into different fields to encourage jumps and other exercises.
Thank you very much for the informative and pleasant talk, Lars.
Thank you and stay safe!