Maintaining good health as we age not only includes diet and exercise and our physical presence, but also good mental health and memory strength as well. Without stimulation, the brain is just like our muscles, it loses strength and ability if it’s not challenged on a regular basis.
However, research has shown that the brain needs to be challenged, not just stimulated, in order to retain memory and clarity over time. Crossword puzzles, for example, may be your go-to brain exercise, but if you breeze right through them, it may be time for something that challenges your brain in a different way, like painting or Sudoku. Let’s look at a few ways to stimulate your brain that you may not have considered.
- The website Luminosity offers games and activities that build cognitive strength all located within one site. Other websites, such as Memory Improvement Tips, offer a directory of free game sites specifically targeted to improving memory and concentration.
- Chess is another game that challenges the mind. Whether you have a person to play against, or play a computer opponent, a chess game challenges you to think strategically. Rarely are two chess games ever the same, so new critical thinking skills are challenged each time.
- Card games, like poker, hearts, Concentration and even solitaire are good ways to stimulate the brain’s capacity for concentration, attention and memory. Many of these same games are also available in an online version.
- Sudoku is a challenging game where the player fills in the numbers in a 9×9 grid by following a few simple rules. Math puzzles like Sudoku help with reasoning, arithmetic, memory and logic.
- Altering a daily activity is another way to stimulate the brain. Simple activities such as taking a different route home, walking through the grocery story the opposite way you normally do, and using your non-dominant hand for certain activities all challenge the brain in small ways that help over time.
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