Many people will be quick to tell you that playing online games and video games is not good for you and definitely won’t make you smarter. But there is a large body of evidence that tells us the exact opposite. There are a number of games that you can play on your computer or even your smartphone that will boost your creativity, memory, problem-solving skills and even grow your brain through the development of new neural pathways. Our top picks to get your brain firing on all cylinders are chess, Minecraft, blackjack, sudoku, and online crosswords.
Online Chess to Develop Logic and Systems Thinking
Playing chess online is a convenient option – rather than needing to find an opponent to play with, you can log in online and start exercising your brain from anywhere. Chess has been proven to grow your brain by stimulating the growth of dendrites that improve the connections between neurons in your brains. Chess also effectively exercises both sides of the brain, raises your IQ, increases problem-solving skills, teaches planning and foresight, improves your memory and sparks creativity. Not sure where to start? Here’s the best article on chess openings so far.
For older people, chess can be effective in helping prevent Alzheimer’s according to medical studies. This follows the thinking of ‘use it or lose it’ because your brain is a muscle that requires exercise in order to stay fit and function optimally.
Train Your Brain in Creativity and Productivity with Minecraft
Minecraft enhances the ability to problem-solve, boosts creativity, as well as teaching about teamwork and co-operation. It also builds on business principles and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) knowledge. The game is effective as it promotes focused mental engagement for short, intense periods of time.
The way that the game is set up gives scope for almost unlimited creativity, where players are able to build almost anything imaginable within the game’s 3D grid. The game encourages problem-solving as players are introduced to new environments and are required to quickly build shelters, develop weapons and find food within a limited time period (a day in Minecraft is only ten real-world minutes).
Blackjack Can Make You Smarter
Your brain is a muscle much like any other – it needs to be used constantly to keep in peak shape. And, according to a recent study by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago Illinois, playing certain casino games such as blackjack is actually good for your brain. The study’s findings show that brains trained through playing these games are able to perform better as you get older.
Blackjack, in particular, works well because it has rigorous mental demands – it requires arithmetic competency under pressure, instant memory recall and the ability to reason successfully. These demands activate your neural pathways thus boosting the effectiveness of your brain.
You can play online blackjack games in almost every online casino and many free games websites.
Sudoku – Brain Fitness on the Go
As you age, the production of acetylcholine (neurotransmitters for learning and memory) in your brain slows and the number of nerve cells in your brain’s hippocampus decrease by 5% every decade.
But you can take control of this and boost your powers of recollection with Sudoku that has research-backed evidence of being able to grow your brain. Sudoku improves memory and effectively delays brain decline. Different versions are available online, often for free, so it’s an easy, convenient way to give your brain a quick workout.
Online Crosswords for Verbal Language and Out the Box Thinking
A well-known, classic way to train your brain is through crosswords. They require your brain to effectively access verbal language, memory and for cryptic crosswords, in particular, will develop the ability to think out the box.
With many different crosswords now available online, it’s easy to access and complete crosswords that are a good match for your skill level and interests. Some good places to look for online crosswords include newspaper websites and free game websites.
Choose any one of these games to exercise your brain – they all work on improving different skills that will have long-term positive implications for your mental acuity. They’re available online and can be accessed from a smartphone with an internet connection making them a convenient, fun way to keep your brain in peak condition.