The Olympics Can Benefit the Average Person

By: Jenna Savage

It’s fun to watch the Olympics and see the way athletes tackle challenges like swimming, running, gymnastics, and canoeing, but instead of being just another spectator, you may want to consider adopting an Olympic activity into your daily routine. Of course, participating in such activities is healthy and promotes strength and endurance conditioning, but research conducted by Mayo Clinic shows that the advantages go beyond the body. In fact, any activity that increases your heart rate can help improve mood and ward off cognitive impairments, according to a recent Mayo Clinic article.

When your body works hard and your pulse increases, your lungs and muscles improve, but the benefits don’t end there. According to a previous Mayo Clinic article, neurologist J. Eric Ahlskog and other researchers examined brain imaging studies to come to the conclusion that exercise not only wards off the onset of dementia and other impairments, but it can also fight against the effects of such impairments once they have already presented symptoms. Exercise accomplishes this by promoting the brain to make new connections and function at a more efficient level.

Exercise therefore serves more than one purpose, and is considered to be a factor that contributes to general and mental wellbeing. By adding it into your routine, you can keep both body and mind sharp, even as you age. And while exercising doesn’t guarantee that you will be disease-free throughout life, it does increase your chances.

But exercise is more than just jogging or lifting some weights. If you’re a fan of the Olympics, you can consider taking on one of the Olympic sport activities as a hobby. Below is a list of practical Olympic activities that will help get your heart pumping and your mind stimulated:

  • Wrestling
  • Volleyball
  • Table Tennis
  • Swimming
  • Rowing
  • Fencing

True, you may not be able to perform at an Olympic level, but getting active will provide you with long-lasting benefits. If you’re a fan of the sport you choose, you’re likely to have a fun time as well. In addition, sports are often social activities, and you can meet new people by joining groups or teams dedicated to your activity of choice.

If you’re not a fan of the Olympics and prefer less organized activities, you can  join a local gym, try jogging, or even just do some exercise routines in your home, instead. The key is to do something you enjoy — and get your heart rate up while you are doing it.