Category Archive: Brain Games

  1. 9 Tips for Training Your Brain Today

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    While nothing has been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, there is abundant research showing we can delay the onset of mental decline by building a brain-healthy lifestyle.  Here are some tips to training your brain today.

    1.  Sleep. Sleep defragments your brain and organizes information you’ve learned during the day.

    2.  Focus. Quit the multi-tasking. It not only lowers your productivity but it may increase your risk for dementia when you are older.

    3.  Exercise in small bursts. Take the stairs. Walk the block. Try a tango class. Exercise is still the number one thing you can do for your brain.

    4.  Play games. Games are good for your brain and variety is key. When you tackle new problems, you form new neural pathways.

    5.  Meditate. No tie-dye T-shirt required. Clear your mind and focus on positive things.

    6.  Make time for fun. Laughter enhances creativity and lowers stress. Your brain thrives on fun.

    7.  Drink more fluids. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already slightly dehydrated.

    8.  Target your working memory. Make a point to push yourself to store details quickly. Work on names and faces to start.

    9.  Be aware that your brain makes mistakes. When solving a problem, ask yourself what the big picture really looks like. Are you afraid of change? Experiment more.

  2. Games for the Brain – 10 Good Reasons to Play

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    Games for the brain sound like a good idea. But are they really or are they just a waste of time?  In the news, we hear a lot about the negative impacts of children playing too many video games, so why would games for the brain be good for adults.  Everything in moderation of course, but read on to discover 10 reasons to incorporate brain games into your daily workout routine:

    1)    Mental exercise – Brain games challenge our language, math and problem-solving skills in ways that we may not otherwise find in our daily routine.

    2)    Change is good for the brain – Exposing your brain to a variety of cognitive tasks including online games for the brain can help support neuron growth in the brain.  Novel exercises are key, so change up your crossword puzzle and opt for a math game like Double Digits a couple days a week.

    3)    Hand eye coordination – Studies show that surgeons who played games for the brain a few hours a week had improved accuracy and efficiency during surgery.

    4)    Stress Relief – Taking a short break to tackle a fun challenge can help you relax and provide a brief distraction from your current frustrations.

    5)    Pure Fun – Breaking away from your daily work to have fun is both good for your brain and offers you something to look forward to.  Use game time as a reward for completing your current task.

    6)    Verbal Skills – Language based brain games help keep your vocabulary strong.  Games for the brain that encourage word finding are particularly beneficial.  Try Picking Apples to exercise your language skills.

    7)    Creativity – Some brain games help stimulate right-brain thinking.  Look for games for the brain that include open-ended problem solving activities.  Think outside the box to solve problem.   At BrainSpade.com, one of our favorites is Me and the Key – give it a try.

    8)    Socialization – Not all games for the brain need to be played on the computer.  Find a friend and get out a deck of cards or the Scrabble board.  Enjoy socializing while you play.

    9)    Memory Skills – Research shows that short-term memory skills can be improved by playing games for the brain.  Short-term memory skills can fade without stimulation as we age.  Practice holding new information in your mind and recalling it back.  Play games like Lights Out to give your memory a workout.

    10)  Free Fun – There are many good free brain games available online or with a simple deck of cards.  Building a brain-healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to cost money.  Work to make small changes each day and enjoy some free fun with Brain Spade.

  3. Are Games Good for Your Brain?

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    Video games can be fun, even addictive – but are they good for you?

    Gaming involves both motor and cognitive skills.  A recent study of surgeons showed that video games improved fine motor skills.  In fact studies show that your game-playing surgeon may do a better job sewing up your torn ACL than a non-gaming surgeon. Just three hours of gaming a week was associated with faster, more accurate surgery skills.  Military data shows that game training improved reaction time. Gaming requires concentration & dexterity, so these results should not be surprising.

    What about mental skills? A study of 65 year-old gamers showed working (immediate) memory and attention increased after 5 weeks of training. In another study with experienced gamers, multi-tasking and attention improved.  Why do we enjoy gaming so much? Gaming tickles our brain’s reward center, causing release of the highly stimulating neurotransmitter dopamine.

    So is gaming good for you? It is clear gaming has benefits. We don’t know how much gaming skills transfer to real life situations, but we’ll know more soon. Gaming is a hot research area.  Gaming may not be for everyone, but it can be an excellent addition to a balanced, brain-healthy lifestyle.

    Article by Rick Brucato, M.S. Neuroscience