Can Playing Brain Games Really Keep Your Mind Fit? Brain Experts Set the Record Straight
You know you need to keep your body fit with physical activity. But don't forget about your brain. While improving your physical fitness aids your brain, so too does improving mental fitness, and experts say it's never too early—or late—to start a brain fitness regimen to stay sharp into old age.
Brain health is something that needs to be on everybody's radar, because while your brain is technically an organ, it's similar to the other muscles in your body: If you don't use it, you'll lose it.
"Studies show that staying mentally fit is important for long-term cognitive health, but the difficulty is figuring out exactly how best to do it," says Aaron Seitz, Ph.D., professor of psychology and director of the Brain Game Center at the University of California in Riverside.
Enter: brain training games. In recent years, there's been an explosion of these games on the market (just type "brain games" or "memory games" into your app store and you'll see hundreds of options). But the available research isn't entirely clear about which brain games work best (and for whom), if they work enough to make a substantial impact, or if they even work at all. Hear what psychologists and neuroscientists have to say about brain games, and learn their preferred ways to keep that brain fit on the daily.