All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
We have all heard this quote before, and know that to have a well-rounded persona we should have a wide variety of skills and activities we enjoy.
Learning a musical instrument promotes lateral thinking
When learning an instrument or difficult piece of music, often we can get stumped at times. Logically we know what to do in order to get the right notes out at the right time, but for some reason it just doesn’t work as planned.Advertising
When this happens, the music teacher and the student need to think laterally to get around the problem. Thinking creatively to come up with new solutions such as a different practise technique, or a different way of interpreting the music, is essential to progress.
This skill of lateral thinking is so useful in everyday life. Lateral thinkers are better problem solvers.
Playing music engages the left and right brain
Reading music is like reading another language, and the technique involved in playing an instrument requires the same mindset as learning any other skill. When that is combined with conveying emotion and expression through music-making, we get the wonderful benefit of both left and right hemispheres of the brain working together.Advertising
The idea we are using our brains to a great capacity like this whilst doing just one activity is quite extraordinary.
Learning a musical instrument teaches you coordination
To play a musical instrument, your left and right hands need to operate independently. If you play a wind instrument, you also need to coordinate breathing, air flow and articulation. If you play piano, organ or drumkit, your feet also need to work independently.
The fine motor skills learned while playing an instrument can easily transfer to other aspects of your life, for example fast touch typing, playing sport, and multitasking in the workplace.Advertising
Studying music and a musical instrument encourages drive and determination
Learning a musical instrument can be difficult at times. We need to put in time and effort into learning how to read the music, how to technically play the instrument, and how to put it all together so it actually sounds good.
In order to sound good, you need to practice regularly and consistently. Ten minutes a day is enough to improve, but we still need the drive and determination to continue when things get difficult.
Once we learn drive and determination, and how to stick to something, this skill stays with us for life. We can easily use this skill in furthering our career, toughing out hard situations in life, and even in taking up a sport and learning to become better at that.Advertising
Music promotes our well-being
We all need balance in our lives to create a sense of happiness and feel better about ourselves. If we are intently focused on work and career then we lose this balance. By learning or even listening to music, we engage our creativity, which puts us in a state of flow. Being in a state of flow is similar to meditation, in that it relaxes us, increases happiness, and of course, improves our well-being.
These are only five points on how learning a musical instrument makes us a well-rounded person, and already we can see just what a big difference these points can make in our every-day life.
You are never too old to take up a musical instrument. I have taught people well into their 60’s and they all do well. If there was ever an instrument you wished you could play, now is a great time to learn!
Featured photo credit: Tekke / Und damals im Ferienlager …. via flickr.com
Last Updated on May 22, 2019
10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day
There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.
One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing. According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.
In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.
Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.
1. Cat Camel Stretch
Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.
Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.
Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.
Here’s a video to guide you through:
2. Go for a Walk or a Run
This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.
Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!
The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.
Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.
Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know
3. Jumping Jacks
Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.” They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.
Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:
4. Abductor Side Lifts
Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.
Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:
5. Balancing Table Pose
This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.
Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.
6. Leg Squats
Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.
Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.
The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.
7. Push Ups
You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.
An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.
Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.
This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.
8. Bicycle Crunches
There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.
Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:
Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.
Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.
This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.
10. Bicep Curls
You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.
Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.
Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.
Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:
Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.
These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles. In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.
You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.
Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better! Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!
More Articles About Exercises for Beginners
- How Practicing Morning Yoga Transforms Your Life (+10 Beginners’ Poses)
- Getting Fit Over 40: The 7 Best Workout Routines for Beginners
- Exercise Routine That Best Fits You (With 3 Difficulty Levels to Choose)
- 4 Best Beginner Exercises To Do At Home
- 7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com
|||^||American Psychological Association: The exercise effect|
|||^||New York Times: How Exercise Could Lead to a Better Brain|
|||^||Appalachian State University: Early morning exercise is best for reducing blood pressure and improving sleep|
|||^||The Washington Post: Michelle Obama, ‘Jumper in Chief’|
|||^||Azcentral: What Are the Benefits of Leg Lifts?|
|||^||Fitness Mercola: How to Do Squats: 8 Reasons to Do Squat Exercises|
|||^||The Nest: Why Are Bicep Curls Important?|
|||^||WebMD: Lose Weight With Morning Exercise|