Mind Games: How to Sharpen Your Brain

Keep your brain active for mental clarity

There might be some good news for those of us who struggle to remember what we ate for breakfast today: Brain calisthenics to sharpen our minds.

According to the New York Times, brain fitness is one of the hot new, up-and-coming trends for baby boomers and anyone else who feels that their memory and acuity aren't what they used to be.

So what do brain calisthenics involve?

Well, newly-emerging "brain gyms" and "brain fitness camps" aren't concerned with physical workouts. Instead, they focus on computer software with games, simple math, poetry memorization, trivia games, and even crossword puzzles and Sudoku. Nintendo released its Brain Age game in April.

The Times listed a couple of mind game websites, such as HappyNeuron.com and MyBrainTrainer.com, which promise to give subscribers a serious mental workout.

I popped over to HappyNeuron.com and discovered that for about $10 per month, I could sign up to play a variety of games that claim to stimulate different parts of my head. At MyBrainTrainer.com, there's a free brain age quiz. I haven't take it yet... maybe because I'm scared to discover that my brain is a couple decades older than the rest of me.

The games at both of these brain bootcamps, however, promise to help improve my memory (good, because I can barely remember what I did yesterday), my attention span (better, because I've got a ridiculously short attention span), problem solving skills (I'm not sure that I have many of those at all), and other exercises to strengthen mental dexterity.

Apparently, no one's sure yet whether these actually do boost one's brain power or sharpen minds. That topic is sure to be hotly debated in the coming years.

But, if simple exercises such as crossword puzzles and Sudoku might help, I'm sure that a lot of people will think: "Why not? What can it hurt?"

After all, if a few games a day will help me remember someone's name or that mental list of things to pick up at the store, I'll play. And if nothing else, those mental push-ups validate my daily crossword puzzle habit.

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