These five brain games can improve memory, thinking skills, and overall cognitive health – and they’re also fantastic birthday or holiday gift ideas! Each game is endorsed by a doctor or cognitive health expert.
Before the brain tips, a quip:
“The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public,” says George Jessel.
To make sure your brain never stops working, check out Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day by Nintendo – it’s a popular brain game that improves short and long-term memory and thinking skills.
And, here are more brain tips…
Brain Games to Improve Memory, Thinking Skills, and Brain Health
Guitar Hero. “Learning a new language or how to play a musical instrument are great activities to improve brain health and thinking skills,” says Ezriel E. Kornel, M.D., F.A.C.S. Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at Columbia University. “A game such as Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Guitar Bundle by Wii can accomplish this (it’s like learning a musical instrument). These activities create new connections between neurons. Though these connections are made more rapidly in the developing brain during childhood, they still do occur in the older brain.” For more video games, read The Best Video Games for Gamers.
Basketball, soccer, dancing, aerobics. “Aerobic exercise can boost brain health, improve circulation to the brain and maintain the integrity of the blood vessels,” says psychologist Carl G. Arinoldo, author of Essentials of Smart Parenting: Learning the Fine Art of Managing Your Children. “It assures that the brain receives a high oxygen supply. Additionally, aerobic exercise has been shown to increase the number of neurons, especially if done before middle age.” To improve memory and cognitive health, play games that incorporate physical exercise at least three times a week.
Pictionary or card games. “Pictionary is a great brain-boosting game,” says Dr. Svetlana Kogan, founder of The Doctors at Trump Place. “It teaches us to integrate visual, auditory, and tactile cues to arrive at the solution of a given problem. It also improves imagination and promotes socializing with other people.” She adds that playing cards is an excellent brain game because it develops short and long-term memory and promotes socialization. This tip for brain health can also build family bonds.
Games for language learning. “Have you ever wanted to learn a second (or third, or fourth) language?” asks Lindsay Gaskins, President and CEO of Marbles, The Brain Store. “It turns out that in addition to being helpful for foreign travel, learning another language is one of the best ways you can stimulate your brain. Hearing and processing new sounds and configurations helps to form new connections in your brain. Whether you have an overseas vacation planned this summer, or maybe just a weekend away, consider bringing a language learning program along with you. You can even load a program onto your iPod or listen in your car on the way to work.”
Bookworm, Bejeweled, Mystery P.I., and Amazing Adventures Around the World. “These word/puzzle games are wonderful in enhancing some cognitive functions, such as concentration, focusing, problem-solving, and decision-making skills,” says Dr Arinoldo. “An additional benefit is that they are also quite good at reducing a person’s stress level.” Casual computer games can improve memory, thinking skills, and overall cognitive health.
To learn about foods that improve your brain health, read Getting the Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Fish Oils. What you eat is just as important as the brain exercises you do!
For more brain tips to improve cognitive health, read 10 Brain Fitness Tips to Reduce Memory Loss.
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