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Memory Games for Adults

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If you thought memory games were just a fun activity to do with your grandkids, think again! Memory games have become increasingly popular for adults, and rightfully so. Memory games don’t necessarily increase your memory, but they can help maintain the cognitive abilities of an aging brain. Cognitive abilities impact things like your ability to recall information, problem solve, organize and plan. It also impacts your attention span.

Are you ready to sharpen your mind? Try these memory games for adults:

Brain Games
For the wordsmith: Crossword puzzles
For a game that truly challenges your brain, try a crossword puzzle! It uses many of your cognitive functions, like memory and spelling.

For the math whiz: Sudoku
Sudoku relies heavily on short-term memory and critical thinking by requiring you to continuously think through the placement of nine numbers across a grid. Be careful about getting too good at Sudoku! If you find that it becomes less challenging over time, try a different memory game.

For the board game lover: Chess
Chess is an intellectually stimulating game but even more so for new players. Memorizing what each piece does and the way they move works as a challenge for the memory. For master chess players, it’s more about strategy than short-term memory, so if you’ve been playing chess for years, this may not be the best memory challenge for you.

For the computer savvy: Online games
Online games can help sharpen your brain, too! Some games mentioned above, like Sudoku and Crossword puzzles can be played online. In addition to those two, there are numerous other games to challenge your mind at games.aarp.org.

For the active adult: Yoga
Yoga is a more physical activity, but you can make it work for your brain, too! In this case, you can strengthen your memory skills. Memorize your poses beforehand, and then see if you can follow your exercise flow without any prompting. Or, write the names of poses down on notecards. Pick a card and perform the pose from memory.

Any activity you like that can be made to stimulate your brain or challenge your memory can work! For best results, try to spend 15-30 minutes a day playing or doing the activity.1

While brain games are a good way to keep your mind sharp, focusing on overall health can have more benefits long term. In fact, staying physically active is even more beneficial to your brain than adult memory games.

Research has shown that aerobic exercise is one of the best things you can do to help your brain.2 When you perform aerobic exercise, you increase your blood circulation which provides your brain the oxygen and nutrients it needs to perform at its best. Aerobic exercise doesn’t have to be particularly strenuous to help your brain. There are numerous activities for seniors to stay healthy, like gardening or yoga.

Healthy aging is an ongoing process and one that should be viewed holistically. No one thing can make you “healthy” and a mix of brain sharpening activities, a nutrient-dense diet, plenty of physical exercise, and regular consultations with your physician are your best bet long term.

Sources:
1 Senior Brains. Web page: Brain Games For Seniors – Play Brain Games to Improve Memory Power and Thinking Skills Retrieved February 2, 2018, from http://www.seniorbrains.com/brain-games-for-seniors/.
2 TIME (September 24, 2014). Web page: You Asked: Do Brain Games Really Improve Memory? Retrieved January 30, 2018, from http://time.com/3423009/brain-games-keep-my-mind-sharp/.

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