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It's important to stay active and healthy, so going to the gym is a logical choice. However, two things happen when we go to the gym: First, we might have trouble occupying our thoughts as we push through the repetitive motions of our workouts. Second, we are forgetting that our bodies aren't the only things that need exercise. Our minds, too, benefit from being constantly challenged. With that in mind, here are some ways you can utilize your gym time to also make your brain sweat.
Talk or Read
You know that friend or family member you keep saying you're going to call but never "find the time?" Well, now is the time! Even if you're jogging on a treadmill, challenge yourself to engage in a conversation on your phone. Put in a headset if you're lifting weights. Maybe even lead a friend through a yoga workout remotely. There are many ways to engage your mind when doing a variety of exercise routines.
If you're not talking to someone, consider that some exercises can be done with a book in hand. If your workout requires a hands-free option, your next best bet is to listen to an audio book or podcast instead. Rather than streaming music, you can stream historical information, poetry, non-fiction, political science topics, or even explore the depths of philosophical conversations. Whatever you choose, you'll have gained an experience in your workout that goes far beyond an increased heart rate.
Stream Some News or Words
Even if you're doing an exercise as strenuous as running or spinning, watching the news is a simple way to take your mind off your workout. You'll be able to catch up on the world's events, staying current without taking away time from the rest of your day to do so. In addition, many gyms offer televisions on the walls of cardio rooms, and some equipment now even comes with small screens of their own. If nothing else, you can log into the channel of your choice using a personal device such as a cellphone.
Perhaps there's a language you've always wanted to learn. Maybe you're planning to travel somewhere or you've met someone who speaks another language and you want to learn to converse with them. Whatever your reasoning, there are plenty of platforms accessible during a workout that will get you one step closer to learning more of another language. Even if it's just one new word each workout, your mind will be better for it. Try streaming videos that read out vocabulary, give short stories with scenarios to decipher, or even listen to the radio in another language. Better yet, stream a foreign news channel and you will not only improve your language skills but keep up-to-date on current events as well!
Take an Online Course
These days, it's increasingly easier access to higher education. Online courses are an excellent way to do this. They often provide supplementary material that is useful to review in your spare time—but who has spare time? Well, if you're planning to work out, consider signing up for a course such as those offered in GWU's Electrical Engineering program and bring something along to study. Whether looking on a device at the materials themselves, holding a handout you obtained from the program, or practicing flashcards for memorizing vocabulary, units, or formula, you can always find a way to stay engaged, sharp, and prepared.
These are only a few suggestions of how to stay occupied while working out, but the possibilities are endless. Depending on where you work out or what exercises you do, you can adjust these suggestions to fit your needs. Whether in a gym or home setting, jogging on a trail or a city street, or even swimming, there is always a way to improve your mind's abilities and make your workout more enjoyable!