Mental acuity exercises are becoming a popular way for people of all ages to stay sharp. They are particularly helpful for older people who might be at risk for developing dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, especially when early symptoms first become evident.
Brain training, or “brain games” as they are affectionately known, are currently being studied all over the world as a method to help keep an aging population healthy. A recent study at King’s College in London found that people over 50 could benefit from playing different types of brain games about five times per week. The study showed that the participants were able to maintain, and in some cases, improve cognition. In subjects over 60 years of age, the brain games made them better able to perform everyday tasks that memory loss might have made more difficult.
Researchers found that the better able a person is to reason and problem solve, the better their memory will be as they age. If a person takes ten minutes out of his or her day to go online and play a brain game, they will reap the benefits later in life. Many people find that they begin having memory issues as early as in their 40s, but the study found that these brain exercises did not provide any benefit to anyone younger than 50.
Researchers are working hard to find what causes some people to lose their memory, while others remain sharp until the day they die. The occurrence of Alzheimer’s and dementia is on the rise, and the medical community is scrambling to determine why, and how best to treat it. Some feel that the more active a person stays, the less likely they will be to succumb to a memory disorder, but for others, the condition can be hereditary.
Those of us who want to be proactive about preserving our mental acuity have no shortage of choices when it comes to finding brain games and other activities to keep us stimulated. There are mobile apps we can install on our smartphones and tablets, as well as games that can be used on gaming consoles (if our kids will allow us to use them!), and Web sites that offer subscriptions to games that test our reasoning and problem-solving capabilities. These help in brain training and improvement in planning and organizing skills.
In short, there is no reason to give the old “I’m losing my mind” excuse. Brain games, like other forms of online training are not only convenient, but they are helpful in ways we are only just beginning to determine.