As adults, we’re constantly bombarded with responsibilities that might keep us busy in the world of work. Paying bills, doing dishes, pruning the garden, dropping and picking the kids from school, you name it. While these activities may keep your mind occupied to some extent, it is not enough to keep your brain fit. It is perfectly normal for brain function to decline with age. There are other ways to stimulate your brain, and this article will explore the different ways you can keep your mind active.
Brain games are activities that can help access and train your brain and improve your cognitive abilities through a process called neuroplasticity. Brain games allow you to enjoy hours of fun-filled activities from the comfort of your home. If your memory has turned to mush and you’re worried about your lack of brainpower, playing a few brain games can help to keep your mind sharp for years. You can also play brain games solo and fight off the symptoms of loneliness and social anxiety.
Brain games are essential to people of all ages, but more important for adults as they offer a wide range of benefits that enhance mental capacity and ability. In addition to the entertainment factor, these benefits can help battle symptoms and worsening of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. The end result is a happier and greater sense of well-being.
Brain games help to:
Getting plenty of exercise is essential for your body and brain, but that is just the beginning. Your brain also needs to be stimulated and engaged, especially as you start to get a little older. Lucky for you, stimulating your brain does not have to be time-consuming or repetitive. One of the best-recommended ways to keep your mind in great shape is with brain games. Many studies have demonstrated long-term positive benefits of playing brain games, even for folks with mental health issues like dementia and bipolar disorder.
Which brain games? You may ask. Many activities can train your mind, but brain games bring out the fun. Challenges and logic puzzles make you think outside the box to keep your mind mentally fit.
While most folks think that staring at their smartphones would numb their brains, there are several computer programs and brain-training apps online that can actually help to keep your mind fit. These apps, most of which are free to download, are accessible on almost all platforms. They include different forms of visual and highly engaging mini-games that test various mental skills like focus, math skills, short and long-term memory. We have prepared a list of games that will keep your brain stimulated.
Crossword Puzzles – Crosswords have been popular among adults for generations and for a good reason. If you are not fond of math brain games, you can try crossword puzzles. You can easily access crossword puzzles in your daily newspaper or online to enhance your memory and vocabulary. Crosswords require you to use your memory recall function to find the right words to fill in. Since the game will need to match the clues with right word, they can enhance your association capabilities. You can play this game alone or with your family members, meaning that crosswords have a social aspect. They have wide-ranging difficulty levels and you can spice things up by creating your own crossword puzzle.
Sudoku – The first Sudoku was published way back in 1979, and ever since then, their popularity around the world keeps rising and rising. The concept of this mentally stimulating game is simple. You are required to use an existing pattern to fill in the blanks with numbers 1 to 9 only once in each 3×3 region. Every row, either vertically or horizontally, cant contain the same number and you are supposed to go through each box until you complete the puzzle. Besides enhancing your concentration power, Sudoku can also improve your memory skills. There is also the thrill of completing the puzzle, which will give you a sense of accomplishment.
Scrabble – Unlike Crossword puzzles and Sudoku, scrabble is a multiplayer game that needs more than one player to enjoy the social benefits that come with playing it. Scrabble has been proven to improve memory functions, lower blood pressure and enhance an overall sense of happiness and well-being. Here’s how: since you will be recalling words to place on the board, you will exercise your brain to improve memory functions, and its calm and relaxing nature helps to reduce blood pressure. During play, you can run into situations where the other player puts down funny words that don’t make sense and laugh about it.
Jigsaw Puzzles – If you want to improve your short-term memory functions, jigsaw puzzles are a good start. Solving a jigsaw puzzle is a kind of meditation that requires you to focus. You will also enjoy association benefits, as you will be required to sort through the colors and different sized pieces to find the needed pieces. When you find and connect two correct pieces, research shows that this act releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with contentment and an overall sense of well-being. Dopamine can also enhance your concentration levels. When you solve jigsaw puzzles in groups, this builds the element of teamwork.
Chess – Our list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning chess, one of the most popular board games to ever exist. Chess has been around for centuries. This two-player strategy game is very competitive, a feature that heightens the sense of accomplishment when a player wins. A common misconception is that chess can only be played by intelligent people. Many studies have been carried out in the past to prove just how beneficial chess is. One study suggested that adults who play chess are less likely to develop mental conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Engaging in this brain-stimulating activity helps to engage both the creative and logical side of the brain. In doing this, chess will help you to strengthen the ability to think for yourself, besides developing your memory functions and problems-solving abilities.
Thanks to the development of modern day technology, there are various apps out there will the sole purpose of developing your mental functions and offering the full benefits that brain games offer. Almost all the brain-training apps come with some sort of progress record to show your improvement over time. This feature gives you a sense of reward and self-accomplishment.
Mind Games – Brain Training Games – as the names suggests, this app comes with some free games and a few premium one that will help you: exercise your speed and focus, divide your attention, enhance word and sequence memorization, and practice attention to details. You can incorporate this app into your daily training regimen.
Lumosity – you have probably heard of Lumosity, as it is featured in many top 10 lists of top brain games. Launched over 10 years ago, this highly rated brain training app features 25+ games that adapt to your individual performance, generating a personalized brain-training experience. After downloading the app, you will be required to take a Fit Test to help determine your baseline score. According to the test results, the app will personalize your daily workouts including memory games, puzzles, logic games, problem solving games and critical thinking games.
Peak – peak has a library of 40+ unique brain games that are fun to play. The games were designed by a team of game developers and neuroscientists to seamlessly blend the world of brain training and gaming. Each day, you will receive a random collection that test areas like problem solving, attention, coordination, mental agility, creativity skills and memory. The virtual coach feature will help you find the right exercise at the right time. The app keeps track of your progress and provides helpful insights so you can understand where you stand out and where you need to improve.
Fit Brains Trainer – this game has a sleek, modern and attractive design that will appeal to players of all ages, adults included. Fit Brains Trainer lets you set weekly goals, track your progress and compare yourself with your peers. The free version has 500+ workout sessions and 60+ games that will stimulate your mind. The games target six major areas of the brain – language, speed of thinking, memory, problem solving, concentration and visual-spatial. It also targets four key areas of emotional intelligence – social skills, self-awareness, self-control and social awareness. Unlike other apps in this list, Fit Brains Trainer offers a desktop version
Left vs Right – this game has 49 games spread across 6 categories, to help you exercise both sides of your brain. With a tap, you can begin your daily training and play up to 4 thought provoking games that test your reasoning, memory and reflexes. You will be required to memorize customers’ orders or calculate bills.
Elevate – Elevate is another top contender in the brain training apps with personalized brain training program that adjusts over time and everyday game workouts. This app has 30+ cognitive games designed in collaboration with experts, and provides a workout calendar that lets you track your progress. Elevate lets you improve your communication skills, memory, focus, processing speed and math skills. You will find the game’s adaptive difficulty progression helpful, which means as you get sharper, the games increases difficulty.
4 Pics 1 Word – this is one of the most enjoyable brain training apps currently available. As the name puts it, the game shows you 4 pictures which you must use to come up with a common word.
Maintaining a strong mind is similar to staying in shape. Before you start playing a random online brain game, it is vital you ensure that the program is scientifically validated, meaning that there is evidence that playing that game will improve your cognitive function. All the games listed above have science backing and are specifically designed to help improve various cognitive skills. Whether you plan to play alone or incorporate a game in a group setting, each of the intellectually stimulating brain games above will help keep your mind in peak condition.