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Acadiana Lifestyle

Train Your Brain

01/20/2015 08:01AM ● Published by Aimee Cormier

Gallery: Boost Your Mental Capabilities [1 Image] Click any image to expand.

By Michelle Matthews Calloway

The advent of a New Year characteristically evokes an onslaught of resolutions. Losing weight and getting into better physical shape usually top the list for millions of people around the globe. To meet these goals, folks purchase gym memberships and place much attention on working out and lifting weights.

Though physical exercise reaps infinite benefits, it alone does not fulfill the prescription for good health. Keeping minds active is equally important. Research indicates that increasing cognitive functions helps to deter memory loss and improve problem-solving skills. Additionally, advanced research studies show that people who spend time engaging in “mind games” decrease their chances of developing the brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Fortunately, the Internet places popular resources at people’s fingertips so that nimble brains can become reality. Many programs are available for online use or for downloading to Android or iOS smartphones and tablets. Free and premium versions offer distinct advantages. These mind-enhancing websites, naturally, list details and prices. 

Keeping minds sharp, these brain games put mental faculties to the test.


Brain Fitness Pro

Brain Fitness Pro uses a series of memory training exercises to increase focus, memorization and problem-solving skills. Exercises are designed to work memory with the long-term goal of increasing attention span and cognitive skills. ($4; available for iOS)


BrainMetrix.com

Brain Metrix touts itself as an educational website dedicated to brain training programs. Just as one achieves fitness by going to the gym, Brain Metrix’s creators believe engaging in a stimulating brain fitness program will stretch and train the brain. The website provides brain fitness workouts that can help the mind process information more quickly and efficiently, as well as help levels of concentration and the brain’s reflection speed. Playing a number of brain training games and exercises, like solving math problems, should guarantee greater mind fitness. (Free)


Brain Trainer Special

Like Lumosity, this Android app contains games that require memorizing letter sequences and phone numbers and solving assorted math problems to keep the mind in tip-top shape. Difficulty levels range from easy to brain tingling hard. (Free; available on Google Play)


Clockwork Brain

If gaming on the phone is more your style, put this game time to good use with Clockwork Brain. Featuring a Victorian Steampunk and Mayan art style, the app allows players to enjoy mini games that will test cognitive abilities. The game’s guide is Sprocket, the Robot, who serves as a trusty sidekick during games testing the mind’s visual, spatial, logic, language, arithmetic and memory abilities in a fun, yet challenging and addictive presentation. Collect tokens to unlock special upgrades and daily rewards. (Free; available on iOS)


Eidetic

Eidetic uses a technique called spaced repetition to help a player memorize anything from important phone numbers to interesting words or facts. It works differently from typical brain training apps by using items that have meaning and context, like a spouse’s phone number, bank account details or a stimulating quotation.

Notifications remind participants of test time, dates appropriately spaced to enhance long-term memory retention. (Free; available on iOS)


Elevate

Elevate’s résumé in the world of brain games is extremely impressive: launched in May 2014, it was selected by Apple as the App of the Year for 2014 and has been downloaded more than 5 million times on the App Store and Google Play. Elevate is a new type of cognitive training tool designed to build communication and analytical skills. After downloading the app and creating an account, users choose the skills they want to improve. Elevate can improve 14 different skills; namely, comprehension, processing, focus, visualization, syntax, context, refinement, brevity, error avoidance, precision, memory, agility, inversion and connotation. After selections, the app then gives tasks to complete every day that help improve those skills. Over time, the personalized game-based training program adjusts based on performance levels. (Available on iOS and Andriod at monthly and annual subscription rates) 


GamesForTheBrain.com

The Games For The Brain website provides a cornucopia of brain games designed to test memorization, visualization, math skills and more. Playing “What Was There?” tests ability to remember details while attempting “Number Hunt” to add moving numbers. With more than 30 games, this resource offers the brain a different workout every day. (Free.)


Lumosity

This popular app is split into sessions of three games tailored to these goals: memory, attention, problem solving, processing speed or thinking flexibility. The games, played against the clock, change every time. Developers say just one session a day can improve mental skills, and users can track progress and compare performance with others. (Free for limited access, upgrade for $15 a month or $80 a year; available for iOS)


Peak 

Peak is a personalized self-improvement app specifically designed to improve memory, focus, problem solving, mental agility and language skills with fun, challenging games, reaching goals and building healthy training habits – all backed by scientific and educational research. The app features 20 games offering adaptive and dynamic difficulties, unique challenges, personalized workouts and daily goals, all designed to get your brain skills in tip-top shape. Peak helps train smarter with in-depth performance reviews, analytics and statistics made easy to read through beautiful visualization charts and diagrams.

The app is designed to help everyone reach their optimum level regardless of age, profession or lifestyle. (Free and Pro versions available for iOS at a 1, 6 or 12-month rate)


Don’t Forget The “Old Faithfuls”

If Internet games or smartphone apps don’t appeal to the user, there’s still no excuse for avoiding your brain challenges. There’s always the old-fashioned way: putting pencil to paper and working crosswords, Sudoku and word search puzzles. In addition to those games, the “non-techie” can rely on checkers and chess, the classic “old faithfuls.”  


Health+Wellness, Life+Leisure Train Your Brain Boost Your Mental Capabilities Brain Fitness Pro BrainMetrix.com Brain Trainer Special Eidetic Elevate GamesForTheBrain.com Lumosity Peak Chess Checkers

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