Does Brain Training Work?

As you have aged, you have probably noticed your brain becoming less agile. You may not have the amazing recall that you once did, and you may find it difficult to produce words that seem to be on the tip of your tongue. While certain changes are inevitable with increasing age, there are some steps that you can take to keep your mental game as sharp as possible and to age gracefully in your mind as well as in your body.

Brain training is one option that could help you stay on your toes, so to speak. This type of non-physical training usually uses certain games or mental exercises to help you limit your risk for developing dementia and for improving your cognitive skills. Of course, it is best to begin brain training long before you reach your senior years. However, if this concept is new to you, you should know that any type of continuing, positive mental stimulation at any point in your life could help you age well.

Some examples of good brain training activities include the following:

  • Board games and card games
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Brain teasers and logic games
  • Crossword puzzles and number puzzles, such as Sudoku
  • Memorizing lists
  • Researching topics at the library or online
  • Learning a new song

Obviously, brain training can be as interesting to you as you would like to make it. It is not a one-size-fits-all exercise that is meant to be tedious. Instead, it should be fun and exciting. You can use your daily newspaper, your library, or even apps on your smartphone to do this. You can even challenge your brain by doing a task a new way, taking a class at your local senior center, or learning a new craft.

While research into the benefits of brain training is confusing at best, this is still a smart way to help reduce your risk of certain mental changes, especially if you are already at risk for dementia. In general, science shows that brain training works well for some people while providing others limited to no improvements in overall cognitive health. However, with many brain training activities and games being so fun, there is no reason for you not to try some out for yourself. You may just find that you can reap some benefits, enjoy socializing with others who have similar interests, and learn something new.
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