The older we get the more and more important it becomes to take care of our brains. One of the best ways to do this is by keeping your brain active. You can achieve this by participating in brain games. In this article, we will discuss how brain games can help improve memory and concentration, what brain games to play, and other ways to improve memory and concentration.
How to Improve Memory and Concentration
It is completely natural for your body and your brain to go through changes as you get older. Think of it like a car, if you take care of it, you can expect it to perform at a high level for a much longer time. There are things you can do to help slow any decline in memory and lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Here are some things you can do to keep your brain healthy:
Research has found that those who exercise frequently are far less likely to experience a decline in their mental function and have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. You should try to exercise several times per week for 30-60 minutes. Exercises don’t have to be rigorous weight training. Walking, swimming, jogging, playing tennis, stretching, and any other moderate aerobic activity that increases your heart rate works just fine.
Sleep plays a massive role in both our physical wellbeing and our mental wellbeing. Some experts even believe that sleep can help clear abnormal proteins in your brain and consolidate memories, which boosts your memory and brain health. You should try to get seven to eight consecutive hours of sleep per night. Consecutive sleep gives your brain the time to consolidate and store your memories.
Keeping up with social activity can help ward off depression and stress, both can play a huge role in memory loss. Connecting with loved ones, friends, and others, especially if you live alone, can help you keep your brain socially involved.
Stay Mentally Engaged
Much like your muscles, your brain needs to be ‘worked out’ in order to keep it healthy. Things such as crossword puzzles, reading, playing cards, or putting together a puzzle can help stimulate the brain. You should also avoid watching too much television as it is a passive activity and does little to stimulate the brain. There are even specific brain games you can play to help improve memory and brain function.
Do Brain Games Improve Memory?
While more research is needed, early studies have found that brain games and puzzles have a positive effect on our memory as we get older. Some research has found that children between the ages of 2 and 4 years old who play with puzzles have seen a significant advantage in memory and overall cognitive skills. Unfortunately, results such as this are more difficult to find and reproduce with older test subjects.
One of the most iconic studies in this field - the MacArthur Study - tracked middle-aged men and women into their 80s, tracking those whose mental abilities ranked in the top third for a whole decade. The study found that this group was far more physically and mentally active than others in their age group. Researchers believe that this is simply due to the fact that the more mentally active you are the better your memory and cognitive function will be.
Which Games Improve Brain Function?
While there is research that points to the effectiveness of brain games, you should enter with tempered expectations. Brain games won’t boost your IQ by 50 points and turn you into a genius overnight. However, brain games can help you improve your memory and can decrease your chances of developing dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease. Luckily, there are plenty of free brain games online. Here are some we recommend:
- Fit brains trainer
- Brain fitness
- Brain trainer
- Brain Metrix
Some of these games are free while others either require a subscription or one-time payments.
What are Good Memory Games for Seniors?
To ensure that the brain works as best as it can, the mind needs to be challenged every day. Thankfully, exercising the mind can be fun and easy to do thanks to quick games, tasks, and activities that can be enjoyed anywhere and by anyone. Here are some brain activities seniors can partake in to improve memory and cognitive function:
- Arts and crafts - Arts and crafts provide an added benefit, they help keep the hands nimble. The older you get the more important it is to maintain dexterity in hands and fingers
- Word puzzles - Challenging yourself with a word puzzle, like a crossword puzzle, is a great way to keep your brain active
- Bingo - Bingo can help stimulate three key senses: hearing, touch, and sight. It is also a great social activity, which is also important in regards to brain functionality
- Logic puzzle - Logic puzzles help with out of the box thinking, which can help solidify memories
Implementing some of these activities into your routine can help you boost your cognitive function.
Are Puzzle Games Good for Your Brain?
As we mentioned earlier, there is still research that needs to be done in order to definitively say that puzzle games and other brain games can improve your brainpower. What we do know is that brain games improve the specific function that is being trained. So, for example, if you do a lot of crossword puzzles, you might get really good at crossword puzzles. The same goes for Sudoku and any other similar games. But the effects do not spill over to other untrained areas and do not elevate critical frontal lobe brain functions such as decision-making, planning, and judgment - functions that allow us to carry out our daily lives. And just like physical workouts, when you stop doing the exercises, your brain loses the immediate gains.
Supplements Can Help
One supplement that can help encourage positive brain growth and prevent cognitive dissonance, as well as other aging side-effects, is spermidine. This is because spermidine helps induce something called autophagy. This is the body’s process of replacing old and potentially damaged cell parts with newer, healthier ones. Autophagy literally means ‘self-eat.’
This process helps keep you feeling and looking young while also dramatically lowering your chances of developing aging diseases such as Parkison’s and Alzheimer’s. While it is possible to get your recommended daily intake of spermidine through your diet, it’s recommended to take supplements so you ensure you get the right dose. Simply taking your supplements with your dinner is a great way to remember to take spermidine supplements every night.