If you’re looking for a way to cut through brain fog, sharpen your mind, and become smarter and more focused, then you need to train your brain. Believe it or not, one of the best ways to train your brain is by playing games.
The Power of Cognitive Training
We often talk about the value in keeping your brain “sharp,” but what does this actually mean? According to Jessica Langbaum, PhD, co-director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative, it’s more than an idiom. Cognitive training is a very real thing.
“Even as we age, our brain continues to develop new neurons and new neuronal connections,” Dr. Langbaum says. “Engaging in cognitively stimulating activities and brain training over the course of your life can positively impact how well your brain functions, including memory, attention, thinking, language and reasoning skills.”
A cognitively stimulating activity is defined as any mentally engaging activity that challenges your ability to think or process information. It’s often referred to as “brain training.” You can think of it like a physical boot camp for your brain.
While they are focused on the impact of brain training for those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, cognitive training exercises are equally as powerful for young and middle-aged adults.
“In addition to improving daily cognitive abilities, some forms of training may help adults perform everyday activities as well as show benefits for mood and well-being,” Dr. Langbaum notes.
4 Games for Keeping Your Brain Sharp
The more accessible cognitive training is, the more likely it is that people will use it. Believe it or not, your smartphone is the most accessible brain training tool you have available at your disposal. Here are several games you can download and integrate into your daily routine:
Hundreds of games come and go each year. Popular trends give way to new games, while other established games slide into the rearview mirror. But then there are those games that continue to garner millions of downloads every single year. The Sudoku.com smartphone app is one of them.
The Sudoku.com app has thousands of classic sudoku puzzles that are designed to keep your brain engaged. Gameplay can be adjusted based on different difficulty levels to ensure a good fit for both novice and experienced players alike.
Wordlook is one of the top word puzzle games in the App Store. It’s a “guess the word” game that allows you to select letters in the correct order to form hidden word matches. When playing the game, you use the color of each letter block as a hint to identify the correct word.
The best part about the Wordlook app is that gameplay becomes increasingly difficult as you level up. This means you never “graduate” from the game (even as you win levels and get a hang for how the game works).
Cognifit is a really interesting app that allows you to do two things: (1) test your abilities via a series of cognitive assessments, and (2) train your brain using personalized brain games that rely on advanced adaptive algorithms.
Cognifit consists of a number of different games that focus on contextual memory, hand-eye coordination, and planning. Training can be scheduled to ensure you get a recommended 20 minutes at least three times per week.
The Decoder app is all about improving memory. It helps users accomplish this by enhancing concentration via several simple games. The app developers suggest using the app for at least five minutes per day in order to experience beneficial effects.
The Decoder brain games include seven different game modes, including a variety of puzzles. Settings can be optimized for audio, display, and difficulty. This makes it a great brain training app for people of all ages.
Adding it All Up
Your brain is like a muscle. In order for it to be strong and useful to your body, you must activate and train it on a regular basis. Brain games, like the ones highlighted above, are one great option. Not only are they convenient, but they can also be quite powerful.
Four 15-minute “training sessions” spread throughout the day can help bolster your mental acuity skills.