Senior Moment? Scatterbrained? Flaky Memory?
Can you boost brain power and improve cognitive function with a game?
There are conflicting studies on what types of games should be used to stimulate the brain. Most studies report a definite improvement in mental function by using games to exercise your brain. In fact, a scientific study published by PLOS ONE reported that “Cognitive improvements were not limited to action game training alone and different games enhanced different aspects of cognition”.
Most of us have heard of apps like Lumosity and know that they are thought to improve memory, problem-solving skills, and brain speed, especially when it comes to aging adults. As a matter of fact, some research indicates that engaging in video games can reduce the odds of developing brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease but there are conflicting studies as well.
The point is that there is no doubt that exercising your brain and keeping it active is just as important as exercising your body and eating right.
If we focus on gaming apps, which ones are rated the best and easiest to use?
“When you do things in the world, you lay down new neural pathways,” says, Dr. Dennis Gillings, the previous chairman and Envoy of the World Dementia Council. “The more you do something, the more available that pathway is, so you may be able to use your brain resources more effectively.”
For the most part, brain apps can’t make you smarter or happier, but they can help you perform certain tasks better or have more control over your emotional state.
I have downloaded, read the reviews and tried every one of these apps and found these to be the best.
Lumosity – This is probably the most popular app but certainly not the only one. It’s format focuses on memory, attention, problem solving, processing speed or flexibility of thinking.
CogniFit Brain Fitness – This app focuses on skills such as memory and concentration and was designed by neuroscientists. You can interact with friends on the platform which is always more engaging.
Fit Brains Trainer – This app was created by Rosetta Stone – Canada and has games and puzzles that focus on comprehension and can stimulate your EQ which is your cognitive and emotional intelligence.
Peak Brain Training – I found just by searching my app store and it has excellent reviews so I tried it. It is very user-friendly and simple to navigate and the games are fun and engaging.
Elevate – Brain Training – This is an app that targets memory and reading comprehension and also has excellent user reviews.
Brain It On! – Physics Puzzles – This game focuses on problem-solving and really can challenge the brain. I played some of the games with my mom who has early Alzheimers and it was miraculous how her problem solving improved.
Senior Games by Lisbon Labs – This game NOT just for seniors. I had a blast playing this one and really feel like it helps focus and alertness. This is one to try at any age.
Crossword Puzzles – Many people start the day with the morning papers crossword puzzles. These have shown to exercise memory and critical thinking.
Other elements that help boost brain strength:
1. Exercise (there are tons of apps for tracking that but a brisk walk can take care of it too.)
2. Healthy Diet
3. Practicing a Foreign Language
The key is to do a variety of stimulating activities on a regular basis.
Keep it interesting, fun, stimulating and challenging is the key whether it’s online or on paper or both.
According to The Global Council also concluded that there are many mainstream but possibly false claims without a scientific backup on brain games. (although I was able to pull up some concrete sound research)
They state that playing Sudoku will only make you good at Sudoku.
This article states that learning a new skill, such as theater, playing an instrument, photography, martial arts, a new language, dancing, a new card game etc. will improve cognitive functions, for example through brain training, gives the brain the ability to create new connections in the brain making it ultimately healthier.
The key takeaway is that choosing an enjoyable activity that involves other people can keep you committed and engaged. Activities that fit well into your schedule are key as well so you maintain consistency. Combine both mentally and physically challenging tasks is the advice of most experts. It definitely can’t hurt.
This will help you remember that there is a pot on the stove.
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