You know that saying, use it or lose it? Well, it is a word to the wise reserved for those of us who, for some reason, have allowed our bodies and mind to stagnate. Although there are some who look forward to working out, for many, exercise is an incredible drag.

Exercise isn’t just good for the body, but for the mind as well. That’s why you always feel so much better when you go for a run or hit the gym after a stressful and demanding day at work. 

What’s so great about exercise is that it doesn’t have to be strenuous or intense to produce the desired effects. Even something as simple as cleaning your house for a few hours can do wonders for your waistline and memory. So, if you are looking for ways to become more active, here are 5 tricks to exercise your body and mind:

Learn how to speak a new language

Jambo, Konnichiwa, Ola! If you are looking for ways to keep your mind active, consider learning a new language. Languages expose us to the different cultures practiced around the world. However, learning a new language extends past connecting with others and communicating with them.

Studies conducted reveal that learning a new language improved cognition and concentration. That’s why students that speak more than one language are likely to perform better in attention tests compared to those that only speak one.

Language learning does wonders for your analytical skills and your memory. Bilingual students are able to handle distraction more effectively and they are also able to concentrate better. This is because the language centers in the brain are more flexible than other areas, therefore strengthening the brain’s ability to focus.

Read a book

Wipe the dust off your book shelf and settle down for some reading. It doesn’t matter what it is, whether a comic book, a magazine or a classic. Swapping your phone for a good read can do wonders for your mind and body. 

For instance, reading helps to keep your brain active and makes you 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia later on. Snuggling up with a classic, such as Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea for instance, can transport you to a whole new world, away from any stresses and anxieties that you may be having.

If you are looking to find something new by Ernest Hemingway, who may very well be the most prolific American novelist and short-story writer of his times, check out this complete list of titles to keep you busy for the next few days.

Make the most of free workout streams

We all know the benefits associated with exercise and yet so few take the time to work out. Exercise stimulates both the body and the mind. In the past, people primarily exercised to lose weight and maintain the lost weight.

However, Neuroscientists recently discovered that activities such as aerobic exercise help to generate new brain cells. Scientists used to believe that the brain was the only organ incapable of growing new cells. However, continued research revealed that it too can grow its own cells in a process known as neurogenesis.

The good news is that you don’t need to be engaged in an intense activity to reap the rewards of exercise. Something as simple as taking your ping pong table out of storage or buying one (good reviews here) and taking part in a ping pong match at home, which is no small activity as it can burn as many as 350 calories per hour or even 500 when played competitively, can help immensely. 

And it’s not just cardio workouts that work- even meditation has been proven to trigger the growth of new cells. As such, you have no excuse not to get up and get physical.

Listen to music

Sometimes you just don’t have the attention span or willingness to sit down and read. In such moments, the next best thing that you could do is listen to some music. Listening to music provides you with a complete brain workout.

Having something that you like to listen to in the background can help you if you want to relax and free your mind of any stressful or unpleasant thoughts. Listening to music has also been shown to reduce anxiety considerably as well as assist people undergoing tough medical procedures to cope.

Plus, when combined with exercise, it can boost mental and physical stimulation while allowing you to perform optimally. Music is such a powerful tool for exercising both the body and mind that it is often used to help children with autism spectrum disorder or individuals with Alzheimer’s to improve their attention and communication skills.

Start growing indoor plants

As well as getting you off the couch, growing houseplants is a great way to make use of your free time. House plants are vital because they not only support your health, but they can also make you more productive than you are currently. The physical benefits associated with indoor plants include reduced blood pressure, as well as reduced fatigue and headache.

Indoor plants also improve the quality of your indoor air. When you are breathing high quality air, you are also more likely to think more clearly and be in a better mood. But it doesn’t stop there. Rather than purchasing your herbs from the local store, why not let mother nature do its thing by growing your own?

There is a wide array of plants that you can grow. However, if you don’t have a green thumb, we’d recommend starting with rubber plants, Aloe Vera or spider plants as they can survive in just about any type of environment and negligence that you expose them to.

Final Thoughts

We all probably know by now, engaging in regular physical activities has numerous benefits for both the body and mind. But exercising isn’t always the easiest thing to do, even when we are aware of its importance. If you are struggling to find ways to be more active, this list of tricks will help you get up and get moving. 

If you want to succeed though, the key to it all is starting small.  So instead of jumping in with a 45 minute workout, consider starting with a 15 minute walk around your neighborhood and before you know it, your body will start craving bigger and better workouts so that you can really start reaping the results.