Usually, when we talk about staying in shape, we think of exercising from the neck down. However, we also must take care of the brain throughout our lives, as it plays such a crucial role in everything we do: thinking, feeling, remembering, working, having fun and sleeping.
In recent years, studies have confirmed that mind-stimulating exercises can contribute to the formation of new brain cells and induce other changes beneficial to health. This exercise is so important that routines have been developed to address issues such as dyslexia, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder and to improve abilities such as concentration, organization, reading and writing, among others.
Fortunately, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit offer an assortment of classes that will help you develop a new habit and break up your routine in a fun and unexpected way, which forces you to focus, think and live differently. Following are four activities available to you locally that can contribute to the health of your brain.
· Riding lessons
Although English-style riding usually is associated with the elite, it can be very beneficial for all of us. In addition to developing muscles, strengthening joints and improving balance, it requires skill, perseverance, time, dedication and, above all, great concentration. Further, it promotes socializing, enhances positive values and develops self-confidence, self-control and self-esteem.
You can practice riding at Ecuestre Bucerías, the only English-style riding school in the region endorsed by the Mexican Equestrian Federation (FEM). Their approach is to train riders for competition in all disciplines.
· Painting workshop
Painting and drawing are two of the oldest artistic expressions. In addition to encouraging communication, they promote relaxation and creativity, improve concentration and dexterity, reduce stress, sharpen the eyesight and promote self-knowledge. Because of their relaxing aspect, it is easier to become aware of certain emotional states and thus be able to face and resolve them properly.
If you are considering taking painting classes, Galería Monteón offers classes for all levels, teaching techniques using construction paper, charcoal, pastels, and oil, wax, water and acrylic paints, among other materials.
· Sculpture workshop
From time immemorial, the human being has felt the need to sculpt. It is a relaxing and rewarding activity that helps reduce stress and leaves you feeling mentally clear and calm. It promotes creativity, trust, dedication and nonverbal communication. In addition, it fosters the ability to solve problems, in a constructive feedback environment.
In El Tuito, Patricia Gawle · Artist Designed Ceramics offers an experience in which attendees can create a work and then fire it in a special oven. Her classes also are available at her San Pancho/Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta studios.
· Japanese classes
Knowing another language positively modifies the structure of the brain, specifically the area that processes information. In addition to enhancing memory, it helps improve mental ability, problem-solving, decision-making and the ability to switch tasks more easily.
Los Mangos Public Library offers several courses for children, youth and adults. In addition to the Japanese language, students also learn about aspects of the Japanese culture (including anime, manga comics and music).