It’s all fun and games until…well… it’s all fun and games. Let’s face it, games are fun! They bring families together, create new memories, and give you bragging rights over your friends on game nights.
But, did you know they could also help you improve your brain function?
What the research says about brain games
There have been a lot of studies on brain games and whether they have any effect on brain performance, especially memory.
For example, one study conducted by the University of Exeter and King’s College London, involving 17,000 healthy people in the 50+ age range, showed that regularly doing crossword puzzles led to better short-term memory.
However, another study published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2017 found that brain games did not improve cognitive performance in adults in their 80s.
Yet another groundbreaking study called the ACTIVE trial investigated the influence of brain games on those considered vulnerable to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This study, which was aimed at people over the age of 65, showed that consistently playing word puzzles, visual recognition games, and memory games helped to improve memory.
Does this mean brain games are important pieces to the puzzle in the fight against Alzheimer’s? That debate rages on. But, while the scientists are busy figuring it out, it definitely won’t hurt to get that noggin working while having fun at the same time!
5 brain games that will make you sharper
Brain health is definitely something you want to keep top of mind. Here are five games that may help improve memory, speed, attention, and cognition.
Lumosity is a subscription service that offers cognitive tests and games. The tests and games require players to hone their speed, attention, memory, cognition, and problem-solving skills.
For about USD $4 per month, you can do activities created by developers collaborating with researchers and universities around the world using an iPhone, iPad, or Android device.
This two-person card game is a classic that’s sure to put a smile on your face. Players flip cards to reveal matches and the player with the most matches wins. It’s as simple as that.
You can find memory card games in stores, on Amazon, or you can play the digital version online. Add a familial twist to the game by using family photos instead of cards.
This classic board game is enjoyed by all. One of the best things about it is that many versions exist and you don’t have to shell out money to play it. A simple Google search will provide a treasure trove of fun trivia questions you can use for hours of fun with the family. Mix things up with questions about the past and the present that will exercise your brain.
Crossword puzzles are some of the most popular games on Earth. You can find them anywhere from the back of the Sunday newspaper to the back of cereal boxes. You don’t have to wait for the paper to play them, either. You can buy a booklet full of them or go online for an abundant supply you can play for free.
You can even make it a team effort by letting one person have a go at a puzzle and then if they struggle with any blanks, another person can take over to see if a fresh pair of eyes will help. This usually evolves into a competitive game that is sure to have everybody digging deep and pulling the cobwebs off the seldom-visited corners of their minds.
You can snap up the UnGame for Seniors, aimed at adults 55+, for about USD $15. The game consists of cards printed with conversation prompts. The goal is to challenge players to think more deeply about things and to encourage families to spend time together and learn more about each other.
Do you love playing games?
So, ready to have some mind-enriching fun? Which game from our list is your favorite? Do you already play brain games? Let us know in the comments below!
Hi! I’ve had 4 major head injuries & couldn’t even read nor write for 23 years after! I still have zero math skills. I’m currently 69 years young, ambulatory & tenacious. I have 2 Service Dogs, been a professional dog trainer & Animal Behaviorist for 49+ years. One of my favorite things to do is word search books in large print as my eye sight isn’t so hot. It helps to keep my pea brain sharp. I also love carpentry & crewel work doing my own drawings first then working out the needlework. LOVE, LOVE being outside & snow shoeing in the winter with my dogs too!
Sudoku is one of my favorite games!
I do like doing brain games but not crosswords