Health + Fitness

Using Your Phone to Exercise Your Brain

Memory loss and degenerative brain disease affect many of us as we age, slowing down cognitive abilities and making everyday tasks difficult. Researchers have been investigating activities, diets, supplements, and medications that can reverse, or at least slow, the effects of aging on the mind.

Through extensive studies, scientists have noticed that people who keep their minds engaged with puzzles, reading, and other cognitive activities are less likely to suffer from memory loss when they get older. It’s possible that the burgeoning availability of smartphone apps might contribute to this process, as well.

Consider these six phone games that could help keep your mind agile.

1. Brain Exercise

Dr. Kawashima, the inventor of the popular Brain Age game for the Nintendo DS, brings cognitive activities to app stores with this memory-stretching game. Users can select from a variety of mini games to keep their minds young, including number puzzles and drawing strategies.

2. MatchUp

This Android app from Magma Mobile is a classic that features rows of card with pictures on them. The cards are arranged face down, and it is your job to find the pairs. Clear the table of all cards in the fewest moves possible. Single and two-player games are available in MatchUp, along with themed card packs decorated with animals, sports, and faces.

3. Fit Brains Trainer

This free educational app has a formal testing feel, as players are challenged with hundreds of questions that exercise problem solving, memory, and concentration. You can track your own cognitive performance and compare your scores with friends.

4. Memory Boost

Mnemonic devices such as the Roman Room, the Alphabet System, and the Major System are techniques used by some of the sharpest minds to memorize information. This app will guide you through eight different cognitive exercises, designed to help you remember lists, speeches, numbers, and other information.

5. Circles

This popular and minimalistic game allows players to challenge their friends across 120 levels. The game runs along the lines of Simon, the old 1970s Milton Bradley toy, which has you remember color and sound sequences. Players must recall the order of colorful circles that appear on the screen and repeat the pattern by tapping the screen.

6. Memory Train

Seniors who want to get more brain exercise should check out Memory Train, a game created for Apple mobile devices. Whimsical animal characters walk players through a nature landscape, and challenge players with a variety of memory puzzles along the way. The soundtrack provides a great backdrop for those who feel like relaxing with a mobile game after a long day.

Anna Johansson

Anna is a freelance writer and researcher from the Olympia, WA area who loves to obsess about weird topics and then write about them. When she isn't writing, she is outside on her bike and comtemplating her eventual trip to graduate school.

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