Exercising our mind is equally as important as working out the body. Our brain is involved in everything we do. So, like any part of our body, it needs to be looked after. Our mind is responsible for keeping us happy, and as we grow older, our mental health plays a major role in our ability to live independently.
To ensure our mind stays healthy, it needs to be challenged almost every day. According to studies, brain training games may significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Luckily, many brain-games and activities can help your mind stay sharp, no matter what age you are.
In this article, we carefully handpicked brain training games and activities that are both entertaining and effective in keeping the mind healthy.
1. Jigsaw Puzzle
One great way to give your brain a work-out is by building jigsaw puzzles. Apart from being fun and entertaining, they provide plenty of physical, mental, and social benefits for seniors.
Jigsaws serve as a workout for seniors’ brains and memory functions. The game requires them to concentrate on problem-solving. This strengthens the existing connections of their brains and also helps in the production of new ones. These processes are great for improving seniors’ mental speed and thinking processes.
Whatever the type of puzzle it may be, they certainly improve decision- making capabilities and intelligence quotient. Seniors that solve puzzles regularly tend to have more improved research abilities, and critical thinking, cognitive, and concentration skills.
Sudoku is a brilliant game for people of all ages. It involves logic, problem-solving, and recognizing number patterns. The question is – can Sudoku actually keep your mind sharp?
A recent study has shown that people over 50 that play games like Sudoku and crosswords have better brain function.
As we get older, our ability to solve problems declines. The only way to keep our problem-solving skills healthy is to keep exercising our brain. Sudoku puzzles require you to use problem-solving skills continuously if you want to progress in the next level of difficulty. The more problems you solve, the better you become at the game.
Although the effects of aging cannot be stopped, the negative effects can be minimized to some extent. If you are willing to put in the effort, there is a higher chance of keeping your mind sharp.
Bingo has been providing entertainment for seniors for decades. But, it’s not just a fun activity. It also provides many health benefits for seniors.
Bingo is a fast-paced game, and it requires players to remember numbers as they are being called out while finding them on their cards. If a player has more than one card it can be even more challenging.
Bingo is great for increasing skills such as concentration and short-term memory, which declines with age. Many seniors have problems with reflexes and coordination. As bingo requires players to quickly place chips on the corresponding squares of their cards, seniors can benefit from this eye-eye coordination exercise.
Bingo can also be adapted to seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. It is known to help improve cognition and stimulate memory in various stages of memory loss. Some adaptations of the game include playing in smaller groups or using cards with larger print or higher contrast.
We all know that chess is a challenging game. You have to plan your moves and track the moves of your competitor. There are six types of chess pieces, and they all have different movement patterns.
As we said exercising the brain is important for cognition, especially for seniors. Although using your brain regularly can help with fighting age-related cognitive changes, it is also important to challenge yourself with new approaches.
Chess is excellent for pushing and challenging yourself. The game is never the same twice, and it requires you to adapt to your opponent's movements.
According to a German study, chess exercises both sides of the brain. As expected, the research showed that during identifying simple geometrical shapes, the participants’ left brain hemisphere was active. However, when players were asked about chess positions, they were using both sides of their brain to respond to the questions more quickly. The right side of our brain is responsible for creativity, and it is no surprise that chess develops our creative side.
5. Card Games
Card games provide seniors with cognitive stimulation, stress relief, and socialization. Playing them can improve long- and short-term memory, and are some of the best ways to keep the mind sharp after retirement. Shuffling and dealing cards increases coordination, motor skills, reflexes, and hand-eye coordination.
Card games can be played anywhere anytime, and if a senior has limited mobility, numerous card game applications can be played on a computer or mobile device.
Boredom Is the Biggest Enemy
The usual cause of mental decline is boredom, and lack of new challenges. These games are unique in the way that they provide new challenges every time they are being played. This quality makes them one of the best games for keeping the mind sharp and should be played by people of all ages.
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