One of the biggest fears I have is that I might lose my ability to think. Maintaining my mind is one of my goals. While I’m certainly not old enough to start worrying about dementia, the reality is that I hope to keep my mind as sharp as possible moving forward.
While reading and learning new things, as well as a certain flexibility and willingness to change can help you maintain better brain function as you age, you can also derive benefit from playing certain games. Even video games, in some cases, can help brain development and function.
I’m not much into video games, though, so my mind exercise is more likely to come from other sources. I love puzzles and mind teaser/thinking games. The good news is that those games might stave off some mind difficulties as you age.
Here are some of the mind exercise games you can play to keep your mind sharp, no matter your age (but the earlier you start, the better):
- 2048: I learned about this game from J.D. Roth, who posted about it on Facebook. 2048 is a puzzle game in which you try to combine multiples of two until you reach the 2048 tile. It’s challenging and fun.
- Threes: This is another math puzzle, but instead of combining multiples of two in order to reach a specific tile, you continually try to combine multiples of three.
- Crossword puzzles: One of the best things you can do is keep doing crossword puzzles. You can find them in many publications, online as well as offline. My grandmother credits crossword puzzles for helping to keep her mind sharp beyond her 80th birthday.
- The Right Word: This was a fun game I found while looking for word-related mind exercise. I love words (I am a writer, after all), so it makes sense that I would love crossword puzzles and other word puzzles. The Right Word is all about matching definitions with words. It’s a fun way to train your brain and expand your vocabulary.
- Sudoku: This is a mind exercise game that requires you to think about numbers, and solve a puzzle with them. Honestly, if you just did Soduku and a new crossword puzzle each day, you would likely be able to keep your mind pretty sharp, no matter what.
If you are looking for places to find brain games, there are some sites you can visit regularly to get the mind exercise you want. Sites like Lumosity, Fit Brains, and FunBrain (more for kids, but a great refresher if you are rusty) can all provide you with several games to play.
Other games that you can play, with others, include Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit, and Chess. These are fun games you can play with other people, providing you with social interaction (which is good for your mental health) on top of good mind exercise. As a word person, you probably aren’t surprised to learn that I also enjoy Scrabble and Boggle. My son loves playing “Viking Chess” and “Chinese Checkers”, and these are good thinking games as well.
Basically, if you can keep your mind active, with games and puzzles that force you to keep thinking, and retracing neural pathways, you have a good chance of avoiding problems later in life.
What are your favorite mind exercise games?