Chess is more than just a mind game. Your physical health can affect how will you perform in a chess match. Read our tips on how health can improve your chess game.
Here are the Top 10 from Health Fitness Revolution and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:
Breathing exercises – When playing chess it’s important to stay calm and focused. Breathing exercises can lower your blood pressure and relax your mind. By calming yourself using various breathing techniques you can ensure you are well prepared and have the proper concentration to defeat your opponent.
Foods to help your focus – There are several foods that you can eat that will help you focus on your game. These foods will keep your mind clear and focused on the task ahead of you. A few examples of these brain foods are whole grains, blueberries, tomatoes, broccoli, and nuts. Try to incorporate these foods into your mealtime prior to a chess game.
Get a good night’s sleep the night before – Proper rest is a huge component of mental clarity. To stay on top of your game, make sure you have gotten a good night’s sleep and are fully rested. Sleep will also help strengthen your memory which is very helpful for chess.
Avoid alcohol for several days before – The cognitive effects of alcohol are still apparent long after your last drink. Alcohol will affect your decision-making ability, inhibit judgments, delay response time, and leave you feeling groggy and irritable. You should avoid alcohol consumption a few days prior to a chess game to make sure you are not mentally affected by alcohol.
Eat lightly before you play – Food is important in fueling your mind before a game of chess. You should steer clear of greasy, fatty foods that will leave you feeling sluggish and tired. Instead, give your body healthy foods that are a natural energy source. A healthy meal will give you the vitality and mind clarity you need for your game.
Exercise regularly – If you work out – even just a little – at least 5 days a week you get deeper and better sleep each and every night. Our bodies are built to be highly active. In our modern culture we consume more calories than we burn which leaves us with too much nervous energy to get sound sleep. When you work out, you are simulating the activity our bodies should be getting regularly and are burning the calories you put in.
Stay Hydrated – Hydration is mandatory for proper cognitive function. When you drink an adequate amount of water (around 3 liters per day), you are “lubricating” your body & mind and allowing it to function at its fullest potential. When you hydrate, you are also preventing head & body aches that could distract you while you’re trying to focus on your game.
Foods to help you sleep – As we have already mentioned, getting proper rest before your game is necessary to play well and be able to focus on strategizing your moves. There are several foods that you can consume before bed the night before that will help you sleep deeply and feel better the next day. Some of these foods that will help you sleep are milk (especially if it’s been warmed up), cherries, bananas, and turkey.
Confidence-building exercises – Here at Health Fitness Revolution, we believe that if you don’t believe in yourself, you will never accomplish your goals. Because of this mindset, we recommend practicing self pep-talks in the mirror before you play an important game. In the mirror, take a good look at yourself, compliment yourself, tell yourself about all of the victories you have accomplished in chess before and say out loud “you can do this”. Beyond that, all you need is a little practice and focus.
Avoid caffeine the day of – Unless you are so addicted to your morning coffee that you need it to function, you should avoid consuming any caffeine before you play a chess game. You don’t want to feel too jittery to focus, and you definitely don’t want to experience a caffeine crash during your game. With good nutrition following a healthy lifestyle, you shouldn’t need caffeine to feel energized and your chess game will be better than ever.