It’s 6:30 p.m. on a Friday night. You enter your front door, ready to sit on the couch and relax after a long day at work. When you get in the kitchen you notice something’s off: your significant other has “that” expression on their face. Suddenly, you realize the terrible truth: you’ve forgotten your anniversary!
As we get older, busier and more stressed, it gets easier for little things to slip our minds, and sometimes even big things. But there is good news! Research suggests that brain games can boost memory1 and may even decrease the risk of dementia. To help you keep track of your busy life (and stay in your significant other’s good graces), we’ve put together this list of five brain games to keep your mind and memory sharp.
1) Take up Chess
Chess is one of the oldest games in the world, with historical references to it going as far back as 1500 years ago2! It requires a bit of time to get the hang of, but once you’re able to navigate a chessboard, the concentration, skill and memory required will keep your mind sharp. For added fun, get a friend in on the action! Having a partner to learn with makes the process even more engaging and challenging.
2) Crossword Puzzles!
They might be old-fashioned, but crosswords like this one from the New York Times are a great way to shake out the rust from between your ears. They’re also portable and fun. You can find one in just about every major newspaper, and many (like the one above) are available online for tablet, smartphone or laptop use.
3) Box Yourself In
Sudoku is another oldie but goodie (although not quite as ancient as chess). Originating in the 1780's3, Sudoku is a mathematical puzzle that tests your brain’s ability to plan ahead and remember multiple positions and points all at once. You can find Sudoku in booklets or online. Be careful, because this game can get pretty addictive.
4) Go For a Classic
The Rubik's Cube is a time-honored memory and skill game that is fun and portable. You can work on it on your commute, at home before bed, on your lunch break, or at your desk when you need to stimulate your brain. There are 43 quintillion4 possible Rubik’s cube combinations, so it might take some time to crack the code.
Want to learn a new language while you train your brain? Duolingo is perfect for you! This app uses fun memory games and quizzes to teach you any of 32 different languages, all on-the-go from your smartphone or tablet. You can track your progress and even work on multiple languages at once!
So take the time to enjoy one (or more) of these games - and share with your spouse. Can make a nice stay-at-home date, too.
1Donnelly, L. (2017, July 3). Brain training games boost memory and may reduce the risk of dementia, research suggests. The Telegraph. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/07/02/brain-training-games-boost-memory-may-reduce-risk-dementia-research/
2History Of Chess - A Simple Guide on Who Invented Chess. (2018, June 27). Retrieved from https://www.ichess.net/blog/history-of-chess/
3A Snapshot History Of Sudoku Puzzles. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.sudokuessentials.com/history-of-sudoku.html
4Number Of Combinations. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.therubikzone.com/number-of-combinations/