Fun ways to exercise your brain

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Which word, if pronounced right, is wrong, but if pronounced wrong is right? Answer: Wrong
The maker doesn’t need it, the owner doesn’t want it, the user doesn’t know he’s using it. What is it? Answer: A coffin.

Remember the brain teasers we used to trick our school yard friends with? Well, they are all grown up now – the brain teasers I mean, as well as our friends. Simple brain teasers have taken on a life of their own, thanks to increased emphasis on keeping at bay nasties like memory loss, impaired cognitive function, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease etc. Naturally, insurance companies, particularly private health insurers, are all for brain training as preventative measures or, in the cases of already-incurred damage, as re-learning tools to increase daily function.

So now we have a plethora of brain teasers dressed up in all sorts of fancy titles – such as brain gym, mind games, train the brain, active memory, brain fitness, abs for brains. Heck, you can now even use cross-training exercises on the brain. Who’d have thought?

Mind games are activities that are fun but challenge your brain. Games that make you think, strategize, and remember information are all games that will help train your mind. In fact, many of these basic characteristics are what you find in lots of the games you already play – cards, crosswords, cryptic crosswords, chess and Sudoku come to mind straight away.

Chess is a game full of strategy. You cannot simply move a piece and hope to win. Instead, you have to plan ahead, outwit your opponent, and only then can you win. Regularly playing chess sharpens your strategic thinking and will keep your mind strong to a certain extent.

A more popular example today would be Sudoku. This game requires you insert numbers ranging from 1-9 into squares until you have created a square and a line that has each number from 1-9. You simply have to put a lot of thought into this game and it is a great way to keep your mind sharp.

Still, the problem with chess or Sudoku is that you tend to develop a strategy and create patterns in the way you play. You don’t constantly challenge yourself and your brain to move to higher level of difficulty. For this reason, serious mind games are offered only by playing scientifically validated brain fitness software.

There are plenty of brain training apps to choose from – free and otherwise. They are designed to improve focus, speaking skills, processing speed, memory, math skills and more. You can personalise your training program and detailed performance tracking reports on how you are going.

There are thousands of options to choose from – you can either play online or download free apps to give you mental challenges on the go via your smartphone or tablet. The games that appeal to you will depend on the functions of your brain you are attempting to improve or retain. That’s the fun of trying out all sorts of brain exercises to see what you like. Because if you don’t like it, you won’t do it.

Mind games are usually simple in design but have a big impact. The purpose is to improve your memory, thinking, reaction time and cognitive ability. These games are especially important later in life to keep faculties strong. While it may seem hard to believe, by simply playing certain games you can help avoid degeneration and memory loss by continuing to work your brain and keep it sharp. There’s not a lot to dislike about that concept.

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