If you’re like most people, the thought of losing your memory is downright terrifying.
I’ve seen firsthand the toll brain disease takes on sufferers and their loved ones.
That’s why I do everything I can to keep my mind sharp.
I exercise regularly, eat loads of brain-boosting foods like fatty fish, eggs, nuts, and berries, and try to “workout” my brain daily with teasers and crossword puzzles.
Traditionally, my brain workouts have just involved a pen and some paper.
But recently, I’ve started using my phone to help keep my brain fit.
You see, several studies have shown the long-term positive mental effects of playing some app games for people with cognitive problems like dementia, as well as healthy people.
In fact, research presented at the 2016 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference found that older adults who took part in ten 1-hour brain training sessions over a 5-week period were 48% less likely to develop cognitive decline or dementia over 10 years.
Play a game on my phone and reduce my risk of cognitive decline?
Count me in.
Here are a few of the brain training apps I’ve been having fun with…
(Note: all of these apps are free to download, and provide “upgrades” for a rate to get a more personalized experience.)
The first app I downloaded was Luminosity.
This app was designed by cognitive scientists and researchers, and has actually been around for over 10 years.
When you first start using the app, you’ll be asked to complete a “Fit Test.””
This will give you a baseline to compare to as you use the app and play their games.
Once you complete the test, you can play a variety of mini-games.
Each of the games on Luminosity is designed to train five cognitive functions: speed, memory, attention, flexibility, and problem-solving.
A similar app is Elevate.
Like Luminosity, this app lets you track mental improvement over time.
Elevate offers over 35 games designed to improve your focus, speaking skills, processing speed, memory and math skills.
If you have a few friends living in another city or state, you might enjoy Words with Friends.
My old friends in Texas can be quite competitive, so this app has become a fun way for us to keep in touch since my move to Florida.
The app is essentially virtual Scrabble…you play it on your phone, and you can play it with friends no matter where they live.
I like this app because it puts critical thinking skills to the test, while providing some social interaction with others, an essential component to maintaining mental health.
Now, will playing these games make you smarter?
But they’re a fun way to keep your brain fit, which is key to reducing risk of mental decline.