Do Brain Exercises Really Work?


Aging. It is the natural process for our bodies--and our brains. There are ways to slow it down and to maintain active lives along with reasonably good cognitive function. It is even within the realm of possibility to improve our brain health as well as our physical abilities. To do this, we have to be proactive regarding brain health and our physical bodies. The use of supplements can be included in the pursuit of maintaining a healthy brain and body as we age.

Do Brain Exercises Really Work?

We all want to keep the best life possible. That means having the goal to remain both physically and mentally active. We know that physical exercise helps keep the body healthy. But is it possible to maintain and improve brain health by using brain exercises? If so, how do we exercise our brains? What are the best brain exercises?

Do brain-changing games really change the brain? A lot of online applications claim to improve brain function. Do they actually live up to their claims?

The jury is still out regarding brain-changing games. Test data does not support some of the promises being made of cognitive improvement by using them. It also appears that the kind of brain exercise games used produces different results.

How to Keep The Brain Healthy And Active

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, mentally stimulating activities and an active social life can help you maintain a healthy brain. In other words, it is possible that intentionally exercising the brain can help maintain, and possibly improve its function.

Consider some of the following :

  • Intentionally and regularly practice using your memory. This brain exercise can improve both short-term and long-term recall.
  • Learn a new skill. Consider a musical instrument or craft.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. A Mediterranean diet is suggested for brain health.
  • Be involved in a physical fitness program. Oxygen is essential for brain health.
  • Remain socially active. Social interaction is proven to help the brain remain active.

How to Increase Memory and Concentration in Students

Students’ days (and nights) are filled with learning and the need to retain what they are learning. Can a student best improve their memory and concentration? If so, how?

Plan to begin the day well-rested. Being well-rested improves concentration and retention of information. Adequate sleep also helps with memory consolidation.

Pay attention and process the information. You cannot take in or process information if you are not focused. Make it a practice to be intentionally interested in the information you are receiving. Make it your own by writing it in your own words and formatting it in a way that makes sense to you.

Which Exercise Games Are Best For the Brain?

When looking for brain exercise games you can choose between digital games and non-digital games. There is not a consensus on the benefits of digital brain exercise games. There is no data that confirms they improve brain health in older individuals. But neither is their data suggesting they are not beneficial to brain health. For younger people, they do not seem to be significantly beneficial. For those hoping to prevent or slow Alzheimer’s dementia, they may help with keeping neural connections in the brain strong.

If your preference is digital games use a digital game that requires you to multitask. A list of recommended digital games follows:

  • Brain Fitness
  • Brain Metrix
  • Brain Trainer
  • Clever Mind
  • Dakin
  • Eidetic
  • Fit Brain Trainer
  • Luminosity

If you want to incorporate non-digital games for brain exercise, here are some suggestions:

  • Crossword puzzles are still an excellent cognitive exercise. Studies show a definite correlation between working crosswords  and delayed onset of dementia.
  • Jigsaw Puzzles are good for short memory development.
  • The Suitcase Game is a roundtable memory game. The game begins with one person planning a trip and packing a suitcase. It continues as successive players repeat the declaration, previous item(s), and adding an item. A player is “out” when they miss an item in the list.
  • Concentration is usually played with a selection of cards. Lay cards face down. Players pick up two at a time trying to pick up matching cards.
  • The Tray Game is set up with a tray of items displayed then covered. Players write down as many items as they can remember..
  • Sudoku has been in newspapers for years.

An advantage of most of these is they require socialization which contributes to having  a healthy brain.

How Can I Increase My Brain Power Naturally?

Brain health exercise happens through the establishment of healthy lifestyle practices.

  • Regular physical exercise - Having a healthy body is important for brain health and as well as being essential for a healthy body. Exercise helps with cognition and can help improve memory. Exercise improves blood flow and good blood flow is needed for a healthy brain.
  • Coffee - Believe it not, coffee is beneficial for the brain. It keeps you focused and alert. Coffee can increase your reaction time and reasoning.
  • Walking - Consider making time for outdoor exercise. Being in the sunshine provides natural vitamin D which is essential for good health. It can also slow the aging of your brain
  • Meditation Exercise - Meditation exercise calms the body and brain. It usually incorporates strength and stamina building. It increases focus and concentration.
  • Intermittent Fasting - Occasional fasting causes autophagy to take place on the cellular level. Autophagy is the process by which old cells are used or discarded making room for developing new cells. Autophagy begins after 17-20 hours and is optimized between 48-72 hours.

Why is it Important To Take Care Of Your Brain?

Even before birth the brain works to make your body function, process information and help you connect to the world around you. A healthy brain makes work, rest and play possible. 

A healthy brain helps us live the best life longer. For as long as you use your body, you will need a healthy brain. Intentionally developing practices that maintain and even increase brain health can help you avoid or defer the effects of age related dementia and cognitive issues. 

What Are The Best Exercises For Your Brain?

We all respond differently to exercise so identifying the best exercise for your brain cannot be done in this space. That said, multiple studies do indicate that both people and animals show improvement in cognitive function following exercise. Aerobic exercise that stimulates the heart and lungs (cycling, swimming, running) seems to yield the best results. Always check with your physician before beginning an exercise program.

Supplements Can Help The Brain

We don’t all get the nutrients we need through our diet even if it is balanced and nutritional. As we age we should consider supplements to boost our physical and mental health. When considering supplements, do your research and check with your physician. 

As mentioned earlier, vitamin D is essential for a healthy brain. If you have health issues that prevent extended sun exposure, consider taking a vitamin supplement.

Spermidine is a supplement that promotes autophagy. This is the process by which the body uses and renews old cell parts, replacing them with new and regenerated ones. Autophagy renews brain cells leading to a reduced decline in brain health and can be effective in improving brain health. Spermidine impacts cellular structure throughout the entire body. 

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  • Don Moxley - Director of Applied Science

    Don Moxley is the Director of Applied Science at Longevity Labs. Moxley draws upon his career as an athlete, a sports scientist, and an instructor to lead and educate on the science of autophagy and longevity.