I was meant to post a while back as a follow up to my post on how to maintain a young and active brain more information around how playing specific games allow people to train or maintain their brain muscles. This certainly explains the interest of elderly people in puzzles or games such as crosswords, scrabble, bridge, go or chess. A more modern way to achieve the same is to play the video or computer games aiming to help us (human beings of over 30) to train our brain, activity also nicknamed “brain fitness”.
A few websites have appeared over the last few years on the subject. I ended up on Lumosity, early August 2009 a bit by chance but I really like the site. The games are organised in five different categories, namely, speed, memory, attention, flexibility and problem solving, and also touch on other aspects such as arithmetics, memory, or verbal fluency.
The trainings are well organised, to ensure you expand your skills in different directions, and all the exercises/games which are quite diverse are based on recent neuroscience research. It used to be possible to play for free more games than the ones currently available, nevertheless you have access for free to all of them during the trial period, and there is at least access to one free game per category once the trial period expired. During the trial period, or if you become a member, you can even find out how you compare on the different categories with your age peers, and you can see your progress following your training. I have enjoyed playing all the games, some being for me clearly more challenging such as the Dual N-Back (Watch this space as I will soon post an article specific to this type of game about becoming more clever, and YES you did read me right).
At this point I should add that I have absolutely no invested financial interest in you joining Lumosity. I just mentioned their website since even though several companies have sprung up to market the idea of “brain fitness” over the last few years, all pretty much basing their programs on neuroscience research, not all have done the rigorous testing needed to show their programs work as Lumosity have done.
Have a go for yourself! It’s free for a month and let me know what you think.