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What To Do With Your Extra Day This Leap Year

Every 4 years, we’re treated to an extra 24 hours in February. Why? Well, leap years occur because if they didn’t, all of our seasons and our calendar would be out of sync. So that’s why 2020 will in fact be a 366 day year – head frazzled? Us too. 

Because Earth’s orbit takes something like 365.2422 days instead of 365 days, it means that after a year earth hasn’t returned to its original starting point. And that lag of 0.2422 day can add up over the centuries.

In fact, the calendar would fall behind so much that after around 300 years January would be an autumnal month and after 600 years it would be a summer month. Can you imagine the state of our wardrobes let alone the calendar of a farmer?

Hence why we stick a day onto the end of February every 4 years. Phew, complicated. Let’s just forget about the whys and enjoy that extra 24 hours shall we? 

If you’re looking for something a little extra to do on February 29th, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to help you make it a little bit special. We’ve got 3 fun suggestions to make sure this February 29th is one you remember, for all the right reasons. Here’s to a superb Leap Year! 

Get Down On Your Knee 

And propose. If you’re a woman, that is… 

Leap years are supposedly the years wherein women are ‘allowed’ to propose to their partners. Which makes you think how ridiculous it is that it takes a leap year to break tradition. But anyway, why not terrify your partner with a proposal? Get down on one knee and pop the question. Although, maybe read these stats beforehand…

A study of college students at a university in America found that “not a single man or woman wanted a proposal in which the woman asked the man to marry her.” Study researcher Rachael Robnett from the University of California said that “these topics are something that most people deal with and that most people decide to do in a traditional way.” 

As a middle finger up to tradition, why not propose to your partner whenever you want, oooh maybe propose on the 27th or in 2021. Yikes that’ll throw them off kilter. Or maybe give the traditional sense of marriage a miss altogether and opt for unwedded bliss.

Train Your Brain 

Looking for a safer way to spend your day? Why not invest in training your brain? Training your brain as a one-off won’t necessarily be that beneficial, but if you start the habit of training your brain today, then you’re more than likely to continue to do it in the long-term. And reap some cool brain-boosting benefits along the way. 

The ultimate way to train your brain is to use the Peak – Brain Training app. Why? Well, we work with neuroscientists to design some of our games, to ensure they’re as beneficial as possible. The app is easy to use, fun and challenging, which makes for an awesome brainy combination. 

Start by training your memory with our memory game category. Peak’s games such as Wizard are interactive and a favourite of our top players. Play consists of looking at and remembering the locations of different objects before they’re suddenly hidden. This game focuses on working memory and spatial memory. It exercises your episodic memory, the bit of the brain that helps you keep track of things like where you left your keys or where the TV remote is.

We developed this memory game for all ages in partnership with Professor Barbara Sahakian and Cambridge University. Barbara published a study showing that schizophrenia patients who trained with Wizard improved in memory and had better outcomes on the Global Assessment of Functioning scale (a scale depicting how serious a mental illness is) compared to patients who received conventional treatment. 

If you start training your brain on this extra Leap Year day we’ve been gifted, then who knows where it could lead in a month, year or decade down the line. 

Try Something New

You could curl up in front of the TV with a coffee. You could pop to the shops. You could brush your hair until it’s softer than Andrex. Or you could do something NEW and super-beneficial for your brain which you’ll never forget. 

The benefits of doing something new are incredible. Harvard Medical School believes that the way you think can be improved by trying something new. “Challenging your brain, staying physically active, and being socially engaged may help keep our thinking skills sharp.”

Dr Papp describes how our brains are ever adapting: “Until the mid-1990s, we thought that people were born with however many brain cells they would die. We now know that the growth of new cells – a process called neurogenesis – occurs throughout life, even in older age.”  Harvard Medical School says that it “appears that challenging our brains – for example, by learning a new skill – leads to actual changes in the adult brain.”

Need another excuse to try something new this February 29th?

Here are some brain-boosting ideas for you to get stuck into: 

  • Sketch something in or outside of your house. Try and get all of the details. Once you’ve finished with that, try another and another. 
  • Archery is great for concentration and adapting to a new way of being physically and mentally fitter. And it’s affordable. 
  • Rent a kayak. Because water is exhilarating and being scared is good for you. 
  • Hop along to a local dance class. You’ll find them everywhere. 
  • Try your hand at gardening. Your brain may work in new ways if it’s your first time. 

Whatever you decide to do with the extra 24 hours, make sure it’s memorable. It’s not often we’re given more time, so embrace it and do something new and a little different. 

Brought to you by Peak, makers of the Peak – Brain Training and Peak Sleep – Sleep Better apps. Start brain training and sleeping well today:

Discover our latest articles on brain health, cognitive development and wellbeing:

Sources Cited:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthy-aging/rev-up-your-thinking-skills-by-trying-something-new

All information featured in Peak – Brain Training articles are provided for informational purposes only and are not substitutes for medical or physician advice.

Maisie Bygraves

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