Buff Up Your Brain Muscle

Challenge


You’ve probably heard that brain training is good for your brain. When you hear the phrase “brain training,” do you picture your brain dressed up in a sweat band and lifting weights? Brain training isn’t quite that literal, but it does involve working out your brain muscle.

So what is brain training? If you like puzzles and games, then you might find it’s more fun than strength and cardio training. It certainly doesn’t require any sweat or special shoes!

Brain training games are fun activities that challenge your brain. The goal of brain training games is to improve memory, thinking, reaction time, and cognitive ability. The games challenge you to think, strategize, and remember information.

Research shows that cognitively stimulating activities, like games, reduce the risks of cognitive decline. Any cognitively challenging task will do the trick! Try learning a new language or playing an instrument to keep your mind sharp.

Brain training over time boosts brain health. But in some cases, the results can be seen quickly as well. After completing a brain training program, the improvements in cognition can last for up to 5 years. In some cases, brain training can even have an instant impact!

How can you use games to strengthen your brain?

  1. Find a new way to challenge your brain, whether it’s learning a new language or finding a new hobby.
  2. Try the new task 5 days a week for 5-10 minutes a day.
  3. Once it becomes a daily habit, spend more time on it. Work to get up to 30 minutes a day.
  4. Challenge yourself. If something gets easy, focus on kicking it up a notch or trying something new.

References

  • Ball, K., Berch, D. B., Helmers, K. F., Jobe, J. B., Leveck, M. D., Marsiske, M., … Group, F. T. A. S. (2002). Effects of Cognitive Training Interventions With Older Adults. Jama, 288(18), 2271. doi: 10.1001/jama.288.18.2271
  • Bavelier, D., Green, C. S., Pouget, A., & Schrater, P. (2012). Brain Plasticity Through the Life Span: Learning to Learn and Action Video Games. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 35(1), 391–416. doi: 10.1146/annurev-neuro-060909-152832