Keep your mind sharp — challenge your brain with puzzles, lessons and exercise


Photo Courtesy: Tyler Pfeifer

Alan Merritt, Tyler Pfeifer,and Jayden Yates run the mile race at a Worland track meet last spring. Outdoor fitness it one way to keep the mind and body sharp during this non-traditional learning time. 

Powell High School students have been out of school for three weeks now due to the scheduled spring break and the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Whatever lessons we were learning on that last day — March 13 — likely are slipping from our minds. Instead of seven hours of school each day, our days might be empty, leaving us to do whatever we please.

Likely, many students have spent much of the down time watching Netflix and mindlessly scrolling through their phones. Some might be working and some may be exercising during the day, but that still doesn’t provide the same amount of mind stimulation as school. 

With traditional school temporarily out and students of all ages stuck at home, it wouldn’t hurt to keep exercising the mind. The following shows five ways to keep your mind sharp, so you’re ready to go when school starts up again (online … Monday, April 6):

♦ Make use of online learning websites. Kahn Academy is a great resource. It provides free lessons in math, science and engineering, and arts and humanities, economics and finances and computing. Math lessons are offered for all ages, from pre-school to high school. Kahn Academy also offers test preparation tools. Another great resource is the Park County Library website. It offers a number of online resources for both children and adults. 

♦ Read a book. The Park County Library library is closed to the public, but they are offering curb-side pickup. All you have to do is call 307-754-8828 and ask about the book(s) you are interested in. They will put the book on a chair outside the library and you can pick it up. (See related story)

♦ Do puzzles. It doesn’t matter if they’re jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, word search puzzles or any other kind. Puzzles get your mind thinking about something other than the Netflix show you’ve been watching for the past 12 hours straight.

♦ Create a schedule. This recommendation comes from PHS World History and Government teacher, Mrs. Ashley Hildebrand.

Creating time to exercise, whether it be taking a walk, riding a bike, running or any kind of home workout, can help you to relieve stress and stay healthy.”

— Mrs. Ashley Hildebrand, PHS Social Studies teacher/running coach

“It is important to get a good night’s sleep and then get up with a schedule in mind,” Mrs. Hildebrand said. “Structure time for each class [once online classes start] as well as time for breaks.”

♦ Go outside. It is proven that fresh air and physical activity can make the mind, and body stronger. According to articles published by Harvard Medical School, being outdoors can improve focus and concentration. Being outside can reduce stress and anxiety.

And two Utah State University assistant professors say exercise can help strengthen the mind. 

“Regular exercise is important for the development and well-being of the brain because it helps to train the brain and keep the brain healthy,” according to Utah State Digital Commons.

Mrs. Hildebrand, and avid distance runner and PHS cross country coach, holds a similar opinion. 

“I also think that creating time to exercise, whether it be taking a walk, riding a bike, running or any kind of home workout, can help you to relieve stress and stay healthy,” Mrs Hildebrand said. 

PHS classes will be starting online April 6, using Canvas as the main platform. Principal Mr. Tim Wormald recently sent an email to the entire school community detailing what online school will look like. 

“Teachers will also use video conferencing programs, like Zoom, to hold live sessions with students,” Mr. Wormald said. “Our teachers will also hold virtual office hours throughout the week. Those will be good times for students and parents to reach out to our teachers if they need any assistance.

A Remote Learning Schedule is available by going to the PHS Homepage through PCSD1.org.