Mental exercises to do while running

The Food Forum's Evil Twin. Trying to lose weight or get in shape? Tips, encouragement, status reports, and so forth go here.
Disclaimer: Unless otherwise stated, we are not health professionals. Take advice with salt.

Moderators: Mighty Jalapeno, Moderators General, Prelates

Raph
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:37 pm UTC

Mental exercises to do while running

Postby Raph » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:47 pm UTC

Hi! I've had an idea for a couple of days and I've been thinking of posting it on some of the forums I lurk for some feedback and decided that XKCD might be the place, so here goes my first post:

I've been enjoying running for the last two years and I'm starting to get in good shape. I've always had good faith in my sharp intellect but I strongly believe that a healthy mind should be coupled with a healthy body. I'm a couple of years into becoming a psychologist, and have gotten interested in ways to exercise the brain. I love doing logical puzzles, IQ-tests and the like, and studies have shown that that might help improve the intellect. Also, exercise, especially cardio, is apparently linked to increased mental function and lower risks for dementia. The best effects are achieved when you combine endurance exercise such as running with mental exercises, as in land orienteering. Now, I don't really have the time nor the motivation to take up that, I like running because I can squeeze it in between my full-time university education, my half-time job and my pregnant wife. A simple way of keeping my mind alert while running is by listening to audiobooks, which I find helps me forget that I'm getting tired by instead focusing my attention on whatever story is told in my headphones. During my last run, however, I started to try to count prime numbers, starting from 1 up and testing which numbers might be primes. I found it a nice experience to run, listen to an audiobook, and do some mental exercise at the same time, and I think it ought to be a good example of that mind-cardio combination of exercise that's supposed to give a healthy brain.

So, my question to you guys is if you have any good ideas for mental exercises appropriate for running? I'm no matemathician, so nothing too complicated, and obviously nothing that needs equipment like paper and pencil. Any ideas?

User avatar
TheKrikkitWars
Posts: 2205
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:08 pm UTC
Location: Bangor, Gwynedd, Gogledd Cymru
Contact:

Re: Mental exercises to do while running

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:10 am UTC

Do you have a regular route (or routes)? If so you can work out/measure the distance between landmarks on your route and use that information with a watch to calculate your rough speed... it's easy enough to not be distracting, and you can make it harder by increasing the precision of your input data as suits.

I originally started doing it whilst cycling so that I could get a feel for how a ride was going without having to stop get my phone out of my hydration pack to see the gps readout.
Great things are done when Men & Mountains meet,
This is not Done by Jostling in the Street.

Raph
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:37 pm UTC

Re: Mental exercises to do while running

Postby Raph » Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:10 pm UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:Do you have a regular route (or routes)? If so you can work out/measure the distance between landmarks on your route and use that information with a watch to calculate your rough speed... it's easy enough to not be distracting, and you can make it harder by increasing the precision of your input data as suits.

I originally started doing it whilst cycling so that I could get a feel for how a ride was going without having to stop get my phone out of my hydration pack to see the gps readout.


That's a good idea! I might try that on my 5km and 10km routes. I have the same problem about not really wanting to get my phone out to check the GPS. Problem though, I don't usually wear a watch. Might borrow one from the wife!

User avatar
undecim
Posts: 289
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:09 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: Mental exercises to do while running

Postby undecim » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:15 pm UTC

Try taking a simple math problem that can be repeated over and over.

For example, start with a whole number and repeatedly multiply it by 1.1. Let's start with 5:

That easy: 5.5
Do it again: 6.05
6.655, 7.3205, 8.05255.... The number grows by 1 digit each time (occasionally 2, when the integer part grows by a digit, but people tend to chunk double-digit numbers as a single number anyways).

Focus on accuracy, rather than speed, and after your run, pull out a calculator and see if the number you got it right. If you find that you're always making mistakes, start double-checking yourself.


Try to incorporate different types of math problems. For example, the next day, you might try to find prime numbers, or calculate the GCD of street numbers and license plates.
Blue, blue, blue

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6290
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: Mental exercises to do while running

Postby Jorpho » Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:07 am UTC

I am usually adequately entertained by trying to do the imperial-to-metric conversion of my current speed in miles per hour, or of my minutes per mile, or miles remaining, or miles travelled, etc. Do I calculate one-fifth, multiply it by three, and add it to the current number? Do I calculate one-tenth and add it to the current number plus fifty percent? Do I find some other more convenient number and add multiples of 0.625? Endless diversion!

User avatar
raike
Posts: 236
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2008 10:25 pm UTC

Re: Mental exercises to do while running

Postby raike » Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:12 am UTC

I like to compute prime factorisations of the time, or, if I'm feeling particularly ambitious, the square roots. Recently, as I've started doing it in a different language--I know a few languages, but don't really use any of them besides English on a daily basis anymore, so I like to work on forcing myself to conduct my mental exercises and thoughts in those languages. It's usually sufficiently distracting.
"When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt." - H.J. Kaiser
رات دن گردش میں ہیں سات آسماں
ہو رہیگا کچھ نہ کچھ گھبرائیں کیا
(غالب)

User avatar
freakish777
Posts: 354
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:14 pm UTC

Re: Mental exercises to do while running

Postby freakish777 » Thu May 03, 2012 5:58 pm UTC

Have your next audio book you listen to while running be "Learn Chinese" (or insert whatever language you've been itching to learn).

[sarcasm]May I also recommend pre-ordering some Google Glasses, so you can play Sudoku while running? Or perhaps play an AR game in which you are fleeing from Zombies?[/sarcasm] :D

User avatar
MinotaurWarrior
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:21 pm UTC

Re: Mental exercises to do while running

Postby MinotaurWarrior » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:05 am UTC

Ever since I was a kid bored in Sunday mass, I've found that doing powers of two in your head is a nice way to keep the mind occupied for a bit. Other than that, I've tried composing observations according to some sort of meter or rhyme scheme, phrasing your thoughts in poetic form.

madd0ct0r
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:13 am UTC

Re: Mental exercises to do while running

Postby madd0ct0r » Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:20 am UTC

freakish777 wrote:Have your next audio book you listen to while running be "Learn Chinese" (or insert whatever language you've been itching to learn).

[sarcasm]May I also recommend pre-ordering some Google Glasses, so you can play Sudoku while running? Or perhaps play an AR game in which you are fleeing from Zombies?[/sarcasm] :D


already exists: This is one of the best I've seen (nope, not my work) https://www.zombiesrungame.com/

Basically - in game you are a scavenger for a survivor stronghold. You recieve a mission - eg 'get to the ammo deppo and get some more shotguns rounds, as many as you can carry. It's 300m up the road'

You put your headphones on, and run 300m (anywhere). If you are slow you can hear the zombies getting closer. Stuff might happen during the run that you might need to react to. As time goes on, the news and radio reports you'll hear over your earphones will help you piece the story together.

Genius, especially for evening running.


Return to “Fit Club”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests