We all have the occasional senior moment when we, for example, enter a room only to forget why we are there in the first place. Forgetting things is usually completely normal as we are busy focusing on understanding the world around us, rather than remembering it. We are looking for enjoyment, rather than creating memories. But what if there was more that you could do to keep your brain healthy and active?
Around 10 years ago, Namco Bandai worked with Dr. Kawashima to develop a brain game for the Nintendo DS, attracting millions of users across the world doing daily exercises. Moving forward to today, there is an ever-growing range of brain games and apps available. They all claim to help you with improving concentration, the speed of decision-making, strategic thinking, etc.
Today, the available games and apps include online versions of traditional jigsaw puzzles, such as Jigsaw Box Puzzles and Pure Sudoku, and the Fit Brains app from Rosetta Stone, which step-by-step becomes more and more challenging. Perhaps surprisingly, apps like the PokerStars app where strategy, decision-making and multitasking are developed and challenged is also a fun way to exercise your brain.
Jigsaw Box Puzzles
When it comes to keeping the brain healthy, traditional jigsaws, including online versions, can help. The reported benefits include a longer life expectancy combined with a better quality of life. They also reduce our likelihood of developing some types of mental illness, such as memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s. In fact, jigsaws use both parts of our brain: the left side for logic and sequencing and the right for creativity and intuition; all of which are needed when solving jigsaws.
Similar to jigsaws, the ever-popular Sudoku is a great exercise for the brain. Sudoku combines memory with logical thinking as you try to identify which numbers go where and then decide to write the number down. With practice, you’ll get faster at solving them.
Fit Brains Trainer
Fit Brains is designed to exercise your brain while you are having fun. It is programmed to improve your mental performance with a series of increasingly more challenging brain games, selected to help you strengthen your weaker areas. The app offers cognitive stimulation across six major brain areas: memory, concentration, speed, logic, visual and language. The app keeps track of your progress and suggests areas where you may need some extra training.
Playing poker or other games are other multifaceted activities that keep your brain stimulated. You are required to make strategic decisions, often in a short time frame, thus promoting rapid decision-making. By learning from previous mistakes, you increase your likelihood of winning. Keeping an eye on the other players and their behaviors requires extensive attention to detail and multitasking.
This may be a surprising app to include in a list of brain apps, but it is important to not spend too much time online. SPACE (formerly known as BreakFree) was developed to help users be aware of how much time they spend online, and if needed, to break the habit. The app uses neuroscience and artificial intelligence (AI) to help reduce time online. After installing the app, you can track your usage and set alerts to warn you when you have spent too long on a particular app or are making too many calls.
To keep your brain at its best and reduce the risk of dementia, it is important to develop good habits in your everyday life. As well as using brain apps, this includes staying physically active and eating a balanced, healthy diet. You also need to ensure you get enough sleep and perhaps start learning something new like a language. Also, there is the ever-important social interaction with others; however, in today’s world, some of this interaction may well be online rather than face-to-face. By combining the use of brain apps with keeping an active, your social lifestyle can ensure your brain is kept as healthy as it can be.