Puzzles? How They can become a Training Tool for Athletes.

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Yesterday wasnt the most interesting or engaging day of my life but none the less I was still able to fill it with enough productive activities to call it a success. Currently with all of my free time I am attempting to limit my phones daily “unproductive” screen time, scrolling Instagram, Facebook and mindlessly watching YouTube videos etc. Instead I am trying to keep my mind engaged with a variety of mediums.

Puzzles

For most people, including myself at times, puzzles are complicated, hard and somewhat boring. But puzzles are a great way to soak up an afternoon or a few hours around lunchtime in an engaging way. It may seem like a small thing but puzzles are a well documented way of keeping your mind sharp.

The main benefits of puzzle solving for an individual athlete like myself are making improvements on my ability to pick out fine details quicker and more efficiently. Imaging you’re riding down the mountain at 80km/h with up to 5 other athletes all around you and the guy directly in front decides he has had enough of this race and takes a tumble. Your ability to avoid that athlete and not become a part of his mistake may come down to your ability to notice small signs in his body language and riding.

Now obviously racing Boardercross is a high stress environment compared to puzzle solving, however by putting a timer down and forcing yourself to solve a puzzle, riddle or similar problem quickly, you can help your minds ability to pick up on small details in the heat of the moment.

For Example: the athlete in front of you was getting a little wild through the roller section before turn 3 and is dragging his heel-side edge a little bit low in a toe-side turn, giving you that split second you need to avoid a collision when he or she inevitably goes down in a cloud of snow.

What Puzzles are Best

There is no rule here, whatever puzzle you are doing it is engaging your brain. However my personal favourites are handheld puzzles that require the user to achieve a specific goal with the object they are presented with. Youtube Channel Chris Ramsay has awesome examples of this kind of puzzle online.

Unfortunately I don’t have access to puzzles like this all the time. So Instead I resort back to normal jigsaw puzzles such as the one displayed as the feature image. Nothing super special but still effective in picking up those small nuances and specific details to help improve your cognitive fitness. As well as get you off your phone for an hour or two.

Do you have any genre of puzzles you would recommend? Let me know in the comments.

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