We are all becoming increasingly aware of the importance of training our brain in order to keep it healthy. Conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia are regularly in the media and with the Alzheimer’s Association stating more than six million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, we are placing more importance than ever on working our brains. There are many ways you can exercise your brain – here are five of our favorites.
Word games and puzzles are an excellent way to keep your brain active. Whether you play on an app such as Words with Friends or prefer the traditional board game Scrabble, rearranging letters to create words is a fun brain exercise. There are ways you can discover new words through playing these kinds of games too. A dictionary or thesaurus can be a helpful resource, but modern apps and websites can also assist you. Unscramble, a tool for unscrambling letters back into words, is a popular choice because it is easy to use.
If you are more mathematical, jigsaw puzzles are a classic way of training your brain. Sorting pieces by shape, size, and color is a wonderfully therapeutic activity and can help you relax while you work your brain cells. Jigsaw puzzles saw a surge in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic with many people enjoying the process of piecing the shapes together in a logical order to complete an image. Jigsaw puzzles are available in many piece counts and major companies are now producing dementia-friendly puzzles with less pieces, so there really is a jigsaw puzzle for anyone, no matter what their age or ability. For those who prefer online brain games, there are sites and apps that offer digital jigsaw puzzles, although many still like the tactile element of a traditional puzzle.
Fans of numbers love sudoku. These traditional number puzzles were created in 1783 by a Swiss mathematician but grew in popularity throughout the 1980s. Now many newspapers have a daily sudoku puzzle, meaning these popular puzzles are easy to access. Not only are they available in puzzle books and newspapers but there are now also apps devoted to sudoku, making it easy to exercise your brain when you have five minutes to spare.
Learn a New Language
If you are looking for a fun way to keep your brain healthy and are also keen to learn a new skill, perhaps it’s time to learn a new language or further develop your skills in a language you already know. Learning a new language has many cognitive benefits and has been shown to improve memory, verbal skills, and creative thinking as well as developing transferable problem-solving skills. There are resources available to learn languages on sites such as YouTube, as well as popular language apps like Duolingo.
You might not immediately think of dance as a brain exercise but there are several studies that have shown dancing is linked to a reduced risk of dementia. Following a routine or learning new steps is also an excellent way of working the brain as well as producing endorphins – chemical hormones that can help relieve pain, reduce stress, and improve your overall wellbeing. Shake your body, work your brain!
However you decide to exercise your brain, know that you are investing in your future self by putting the effort in now – and best of all, with such a variety of ways to give your brain a workout there’s no excuse. Find fun ways to keep your brain healthy such as those mentioned above – you won’t regret it.