During the spring months, Marbles the Brain Store puts a spotlight on products from our Coordination section that you play with outside. Our buying department has scoured through hundreds of products to find unique and engaging items that incorporate physical activity. You may look at the products and automatically assume that they are just for kids, but we’d like to challenge that assumption.
You probably know that physical activity is good for your heart, but did you know that it is extremely beneficial to your brain as well? Research has shown that exercise increases the diameter of the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain, allowing greater delivery of oxygen to your neurons. It can also stimulate the growth of connections between those neurons (known as synapses). These connectors can strengthen many areas of our brain. Ultimately, areas of the brain governing reasoning, judgment and memory are actually increased in volume. Recent studies have even shown that physical activity can decrease your risk of dementia, including symptoms from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Here are some of our recommendations to get you and your family outside and moving:
Many of our employees and customers have loved playing with Ogosport. If you need a new challenge, try Djubi. Djubi is a cross between lacrosse and a slingshot. The set comes with two balls with elastic bands that hook on the end of the racquet net. Once it’s launched your opponent has to try to catch it in their net. This activity is great at strengthening focus and hand-eye coordination.
Practice the ancient performance art of Poi with Kiwido. Grasping the string or connected ball, manipulate the ribbons into arcs and patterns by swinging your arms in various motions. This art was developed by the indigenous people of New Zealand to keep the women’s hands flexible for weaving and the men’s hands and arms strong for battle. This easy-to-learn swinging toy enhances coordination, flexibility and concentration and can also help with balance. If you can develop your skill enough to use them with both hands, you can actually work both sides of your brain. The set includes a CD of basic techniques to help you build your skills.
These are all fun outdoor activities, but they also have one other thing in common. At various points they require your arms to be at or above heart level. This raises your heart rate and moves blood from the top of the head all the way to the tip of your toes. This relaxes the lining of the arteries which improves heart and brain health. And learning new strategies and movement patterns can increase your gray matter. So grab a game, go outside and have fun!