Mind games have many benefits

I am pleased to report that this week I am finally, slowly, getting into a routine.

Saturday, 2nd April 2016, 3:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 3rd April 2016, 10:32 am
The New Road at Berwick is one of Laura's training routes.

I’m far from there yet, but despite a myriad of distractions, I seem to be sticking to the schedule and getting a few miles under my belt.

On the subject of distractions, I have increasingly found that my most effective runs are those that I’m not really thinking about.

I have mentioned before my use of a Couch to 5K app to kick start my running, and I have now graduated to the ‘Zombies, Run’ app, which I would highly recommended for those among you that like a story. Each week a new chapter is revealed as you run, providing both a distraction and a reason to head out time and again to find out what happens next.

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In the search for distractions while I run, I often come up with puzzle games to play in my mind. I like anything that involves counting, mainly because I find anything mathematical difficult enough to take my mind away from the immediate problem of running. If I hit on a particularly good counting game I can even distract myself for long enough that before I know it, I’m actually home again and stretching out.

I hope that playing such mind games may also actively prevent the development of Alzheimer’s.

Whilst I am not yet, thankfully, in an at risk age group, I am still keen to do everything I can to reduce the risk of developing dementia.

I am running the Great North Run in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society because I believe the charity does great work in promoting both how to prevent dementia and how to cope once diagnosed, as well as supporting families and loved ones.

Research has shown that a healthy lifestyle is the best way to reduce your chances of developing dementia, including: “taking regular exercise, eating a healthy balanced diet, not smoking and keeping cholesterol and blood pressure under control” (Source: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk).

However, research has also shown that playing games and puzzles can lead to increased brain volume in middle age.

Although further research is needed, it is possible these positive changes may be something simple we can all do to ward off dementia – and in the meantime playing mind games is just what I need to get my feet moving under me.

If you would like to help fund such further vital research, as always you can help by sponsoring me by donating online at www.justgiving.com/berwickberriGNR

If you would like to become more involved in a healthy lifestyle, but don’t know where to start, then get in touch to join me out running this week.