As we get older our brains seem to work a little less efficiently than they used to. From time to time, you’ll find yourself forgetting a name or turning up in a room with no idea of why you’re there. It’s totally normal, but it’s also really inconvenient and even a little embarrassing at times. If you find yourself wishing you could do something about it, then the good news is that you can. The even better news is that gaming can genuinely help.
If you already play games in your spare hours, keep up with it so you can become a better gamer and train your brain to work more efficiently at the same time. Games encourage you to think quickly, logically or deeply, or sometimes do all three simultaneously. They are essentially interactive simulations of cause-and-effect relationships without the stress of real life mixed in.
Card games are hugely popular with deep thinkers because when it comes to speed and logic, there are few better options than a deck of cards. If you’ve got friends to play with who are almost equally matched, then you can make games night into a social occasion – try a new card game each week whenever possible. If not, there’s no need to worry since plenty of US poker sites allow you to compete against real people; so you can enjoy card games from the comfort of your home.
If you’re the kind of person who prefers to play at a slower pace than a poker game, then single-player card games might suit you better. Remember spending hours on Microsoft Solitaire back in the late 90s? Although your parents probably told you off for it, that’s exactly the sort of game that will get your brain working again. We’re not telling you to forego work for the week and spend the whole day on it. But half an hour here and there wouldn’t hurt.
Cards are not for everyone. That’s where chess comes in as a great alternative. Chess has always been known as the thinking man’s game. Play tends to be slow, deliberate, and highly calculated. It really suits those who’ve got plenty of time to devote to the hobby and love strategic thinking. If you’re looking to actually win matches, then watching YouTube videos or getting your hands on some strategy books is a good place to start.
If you don’t mind winning or losing, but just want to give your brain a workout then you can start off by playing against other beginners. Lots of parks have outdoor chess sets so you can get the added bonus of the fresh air. But in case you don’t fancy this, there are sites that allow you to play online against similarly matched competitors.
Other viable options for those who want to pack maximum brain-boosting in a short amount of time between work and household chores, are brain training games. There is a huge variety out there for mobile, PC, and handheld gaming consoles. These games allow you to focus on specific areas in which you’d like to improve and then offer you targeted training.
Many people will remember the original brain training game called Brain Age by Dr. Ryuta Kawashima that was released back in 2005 for Nintendo DS. The game promised to reduce your ‘brain age’ and gave you five minutes of mandatory exercises per day, with the option to complete more if you wanted to boost your practice.
This game still stands up today thanks to its background in actual science. A new iteration was released in 2019 too. There are now plenty of competing apps and games that you can play on your phone, making them even more convenient for anyone to access on any device on-the-go.
Finally, if most of the above options don’t appeal to you because you’d rather spend leisure time away from a screen, pen-and-paper games such as Sudoku, crossword puzzles and jumbles are fun ways of exercising your brain.