Do you sometimes wonder if you're losing your mind because you keep forgetting where you left your keys or you can not remember birthdays or appointments? Do not worry; it does not necessarily mean your mind is losing its ability to function. But it might mean that your brain could use a workout routine.
We all want to live long and prosperous lives, and no one wants to suffer from mental deterioration. Then why do so many people neglect their brains when they exercise? We go jogging, lift weights and spend thousands of dollars on gym memberships and fitness equipment to exercise our hearts and muscles and strengthen our bones. But what do we do for our brains? Like the heart, the brain needs exercise to keep it healthy. And you can exercise your brain by playing games.
Centenarians (people close to 100 years old) report that they retain their cognitive function by engaging in mental activities such as crossword puzzles, bridge and intricate jigsaw puzzles.
Here's how such activities work for different parts of the brain.
Frontal lobes. The frontal lobes act as a kind of CEO for the brain. They are responsible for coordinating actions such as planning ahead and controlling impulsivity. They are also important for long-term memory – especially memories associated with emotions and smells – as well as personality and muscle control. You can continue to improve these areas of your brain by playing Eons MatchUp, Sudoku and Gutterball 3D. All of these games strengthen memory, executive function and motor skills.
Temporal lobes. These enable us to interpret what we hear – to identify sounds and understand speech. They play very important roles in understanding and expressing language. The temporal lobes are also important for naming things and recognizing faces and places. They contain a very important structure called the hippocampus, which is important for short-term memory. Word games such as the Daily Crossword, the Jumble and Scrabble build language skills that are directly connected to this part of the brain.
Parietal lobes. These help us make sense of information coming from our various senses, such as vision, smell and hearing. They also help us with spatial relations. What mental processes do you follow to piece together a puzzle puzzle? There is your answer about how you can exercise this part of the brain. This type of mental exercise also enhances the occipital lobes that allow us to interpret what we see; these lobes operate much like the lens of a camera.
So play every day! Working these different areas of the brain can lead to improvements in all important brain functions and increase your brain's resilience to age-related memory and mental agility problems. Just as with muscle training, you are never too old to produce results and see improvement when you do these exercises. But they are really a lot more fun!