As humans age, time ravages the body, both inside and out. People are especially sensitive to these changes, such as an onslaught of wrinkles, weight gain, and changing hair. Yet it is the brain that too often goes overlooked as far as anti-aging. A woman once in her 40s, for example, may succumb to forgetting names, missing appointments, and misplacing keys repeatedly. This is a sign that the cognitive functions are no longer operating at the capacity once enjoyed in youth. In essence, age seems to make brains less efficient. To continue a healthy and happy year, as well as a long and productive life, giving the ol’ noggin a good workout is priceless when preventing age-related memory loss.
Brain training has been shown to measurably increase cognition and mental faculty function. This includes a rise in memory, general short-term recall, as well as “greater self-confidence, better recall of shopping lists and attending to conversations in noisy settings” (Scientific American). Thus, many find themselves deciding to spend money on brain training programs sold via the Internet. Lumosity, for example, is one of the leading pay apps available. With over 70 million users around the world, it would seem that these games and daily workouts are the best approach to avoiding dementia and other age-related brain function problems.
The online versions of brain games are popular for many reasons, including the convenience of mobile phone apps and the knowledge that these programs have been created by top neuroscientists. The programs make certain to approach varying levels and types of cognitive function, including memory and reasoning capabilities, thus making it attractive to those who are too busy to create their own workout session for their brains. Much like having a personal trainer, these apps serve as reminders and guides for regular brain training.
However, there is no exact data that determines that these pay programs are more beneficial than the old-fashioned approach. In fact, CNN reports that there are a variety of ways to keep the brain young that also reflect a healthy, happy lifestyle. Moderate physical activity three times a week, a diet rich in diverse fruits and vegetables as well as sources of Omega-3 and Vitamin B12, the ability to destress (like with yoga and a glass of red wine), socializing, and learning or reading something new are all fundamental components of a healthy head. Avoiding a high fat diet and obesity is important as both raise the risk of dementia.
Some other at-home practices might look like the following suggestions: complete a puzzle, try new foods, learn to cook, play new music or instrument, play Pictionary or Charades, learn a new language or enhance the vocabulary of an already fluent language, and even attempting a sport that requires cognitive function simultaneous to a healthy workout, such as tennis.
So, which is better, the app or the lifestyle? What it comes down to is motivation. Whatever gets a person to workout the memory and reasoning skills will benefit him or her most in the long run. Those without a penchant for Bridge, in other words, might opt for a cell phone app instead. Whatever one chooses, results only come from regular practice. In fact, it may take up to five years of regular brain training to see any real-life cognitive results, and the practice cannot stop there. Think of it as a lifestyle choice for a better life.
Brain training in the end is what is important. Whether it be through Luminosity or a like app, or a healthier lifestyle, or perhaps both, remembering to keep the mental self in shape is vital for a long, happy life.