Better Together – Part 1

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Some things are better together. 

There’s the classic advertisement for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups where two people accidently bump into each other and spill their two individually awesome things – chocolate and peanut butter – into each other and discover it’s even more awesome.

Then there’s the more high-minded concept of “the whole is not equal to the sum of the parts.”  And this is certainly true of brain fitness and body fitness.  Both are good individually, but done simultaneously their benefits to both brain and body are amplified above what you get when each are pursued separately.

Moving brain games deliver fitness for both body and brain.  The difficulty of the physical and the cognitive task can be anything from easy to hard.  Part 1 (this post) will feature low-tech examples using foam dice and Part 2 will feature some high-tech examples, the ROX ProX pods

Low-Tech – Dice:

  1. Assign each color an exercise, roll the dice and perform the corresponding exercise for the number of reps shown on top of each die.
  2. Assign ODD to an exercise (e.g., push-up) and EVEN to an exercise (e.g., squat) and add the numbers from the dice roll and perform that number of the corresponding exercise. 
  3. Same as #2, but subtract the smaller number from the bigger number.  In this case, you can potentially assign very challenging movements because the reps will be small.
  4. Add challenge to any of the 3 above exercises by using three dice.

This one is too hard. This one is too easy. This one is just right.

The more cognitive challenge is present, the more benefit. Unless there’s so much challenge that it gets frustrating.   

The right level of cognitive challenge features occasional mistakes with mostly correct performance. And just like with physical fitness, over time the challenge can be progressed as appropriate.

Brain training is good for the brain, as is exercise.  Blending body and brain training amplifies the brain benefits of both.  Low-tech or high-tech options are available so that just about anyone can derive the benefits of blended training.

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