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LEARN A NEW SKILL - FROM TO YODELING TO YOGA

Read on to discover the benefits behind learning a new skill, and how opening new doors will increase your adaptability and overall happiness.

07 Jan 2021

“Everyone can play the piano”, may be an accurate statement, but whether everyone can play the piano well is a different matter entirely.


A ‘skill’ is the ability to do something well because you have trained to complete that task in the past, probably repeating it regularly, perhaps even hundreds of times. Skill encompasses everything from being able to accurately shoot 3-pointers in basketball, to good communication in the workplace, and of course, even to how good a yodeler you are.


Apart from the obvious benefit of now being able to complete a new task, the actual process of learning that skill can be hugely beneficial to us, playing an important part in our growth personally, and even as a society. There are 3 crucial benefits to learning new skills:


1.      Your brain chemistry changes- The more you practice a new skill you are learning, the more dense your myelin (white matter in the brain) becomes, helping you to learn more effectively.  


2.      Your learning speed increases- As you process new information, you stimulate neurons in your brain, forming more neural pathways. The more pathways formed, the faster electrical impulses can travel.


3.      It can help prevent dementia- Learning new skills is thought to help reduce likeliness of developing dementia, as people who learn new skills have less chance for demyelination (damage to the myelin) to occur, meaning neural pathways stay healthy for impulses to travel.


With seemingly fewer options to physically get outside and discover new things in our city, we’re having a look at how you can still learn a new skill during our 'close quarters' times.


Express Yourself

Re-connect with the artist within! Whether that means digging out your old paint brushes and musical instruments, or picking up some new one and learning how to paint, draw, sculpt or sing, there is a little Picasso in all of us. We are particularly blessed with a wealth of options for photography in Hong Kong, with old and new cameras on just about every street, and improving your shots and composition is a fun skill to practice as you get creative in your own home.


If art or drawing is not your forte, cooking is a wonderful way to express yourself, especially as you learn more techniques and recipes that turn you into a better chef, and better person all round. There’s always an opportunity to find new ways to get the healthy nutrients you need, but don’t feel guilty if you make a cupcake or two occasionally! Home cooking has become an increasingly important skill in our currently restricted social lives, so get practicing so you can impress your friends and family in the future.


Old Activities, New Methods.

Mix it up! If you already consider yourself adept at cooking with a frying pan for example, challenge yourself with oven recipes, or even try creating exciting plant-based dishes that don’t rely too much on meat for protein.


Instead of snoozing your work-from-home-alarm at 8:55am every day, you can get up an hour early (like you would if you had to go in to the office), and go for a walk or a run. Similarly, if you’re used to watching TV until midnight before falling into bed, set aside an hour to read instead, even if the book is an old favourite or a guilty pleasure, stimulating your brain to get out of the rut can be beneficial, and keep you feeling refreshed.


Leveling Up

Learn how to play logic games or puzzles that have increasingly more difficult levels, meaning you put your learning to good use. Once you start to master basic puzzles, you can move on to variations, an example being moving on from 'Sudoku' to 'Killer Sudoku', for example, or playing Chess against increasingly more difficult opponents. You’ll continually learn and be able to use new strategies, essentially creating new pathways in your thinking and analytical mind.


Or, if you have ever come face to face with a fitness ‘plateau’, you can start practicing new movements and exercises, or try some new sports; relying on different muscles and joints that you aren’t used to using can help round you out as a more complete athlete.


Help Others

While we tend think of volunteering as a traditionally outdoor and more physical activity, there are still opportunities to help your community from the temporary restrictions of your home. If you read and write more than one language for example, you might be able to volunteer work for an organization that is doing something important to you. Creating new relationships in this way, and learning the value of doing something without money, and being able to talk to different people is a skill more of us probably need.


A new skill doesn’t have to be physical, or rely on your fitness, but you are always welcome to contact us for advice or if you need a little bit of inspiration in those areas. Our instructors are ready and willing to give you some pointers, if you are working on a new Yoga pose, trying to improve your flexibility, strength, or even want to learn a new skill that will help keep your health and wellness a firm priority.