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Play This One Game Every day To Help Speed Up Recovery From A Stroke

Play This One Game Every day To Help Speed Up Recovery From A Stroke

Have you or anybody in your family suffered a stroke? Then you would know how recovery from a stroke can be an uphill battle, marred with frustration and anxiety on the patient’s part and helplessness on others.

But there is always hope. Recovery from stroke is literally a lifelong process, but there is this one game you can play, that could really become a valuable aid in making you as mentally and physically fit as it possible.

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What is a stroke?

By definition, a brain or cerebral stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, and when the brain does not receive oxygen that the blood supplies, brain cells begin to die. A stroke affects motor functions and muscle control and patients also often have memory loss, mental fogginess and sometimes pain or tingling in the affected parts of the body.

Is recovery from a stroke possible?

Recovery from a stroke is a long process, but a possible one. Within weeks of a stroke, the brain begins to regenerate the dead or damaged cells – making new brain cells (neurons) as well as new blood vessels to connect to them.

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What can we do to fasten recovery from stroke?

You can play chess. It sounds flippant—it is anything but. Chess is a game long revered for mental strategy that is proven to have long term benefits on memory, IQ as well as reading. It enhances problem-solving skills, creativity, patience as well as planning and ends up exercising both the sides of the brain thereby increasing mental acuity.

How can chess help in physical recovery from a stroke?

When you play chess, you need to move the pieces around in a multidirectional but precision format. There’s a wide range of movement – forward, backward, diagonally forward or backward and of course, sideways. Hover each movement is precise in its range – the piece has to move according to the rules of the chess, and a set number of squares only; be it to play, defend or attack. This precision movement helps in regaining vital motor skills needed to live an independent life. There’s so much that our hands and arms do and when you lose part of this movement after a stroke, chess can help in this physical part of recovery from stroke.

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How can chess help in mental recovery from stroke?

When you play chess, you use both the hemispheres of the brain for chess marries logic with creativity in a power-packed mental game of skills. There’s a considerable mental effort required to play the game.

  • Memory improvement: You use your memory to remember how which piece moves, attacks or defends and this metal exercise helps you recover lost memories and help in further retention.
  • Mental clarity: Your strategy keeps changing and you have to think and rethink new moves the way your opponent continuously does too. You need to give full concentration to the game, else its checkmate for you. This mental exercise can improve communicative as well as cognitive abilities.
  • A state of calm: Chess is also a sort of a meditation – when you play chess, your concentration shrinks to just that board – this single-mindedness in a game that as fast or as slow as you want it to be, helps you in achieving a zen-like state of mind.
  • A happier state of mind: Win a game or lose one, chess is rather invigorating when played well. It may not have the same effect as physical exercise, but playing a game of chess can flush the system with adrenaline and make a depressed stroke victim feel so much better.

Remember that chess makes one cheerful for even if one loses a game, there’s always the next one to look forward to. There’s nothing like some good competition to revive the brain and the soul. And by doing that, chess inculcates hope and a new lease of life in a person bogged down by recovery from stroke.

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Featured photo credit: Deviantart via img04.deviantart.net

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Rima Pundir

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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

1. Take the scenic route.

Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

2. Distract yourself.

No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

3. Listen to music or podcasts.

There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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4. Bring a friend.

Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

5. Accessorize.

There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

6. Compete.

A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

7. Relax.

The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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