When most people think of staying in shape, they think of the muscles they can exercise by running, swimming, or weight lifting. But your brain is arguably your most important body part that you can’t exercise at the gym. Although, we can't train our brain in the traditional way, we can still keep it sharp with some brain games. Here are a few of our favorites:
Put that calculator down! Studies show that doing simple math problems in your head is a great way to sharpen your brain power. We’re not suggesting anything crazy of course, but even some simple multiplication and addition in your head is a great brain work out. You still may want to use your calculator to double check your work, but we’ll leave that up to you.
Switching up your routine
A really simple and fun way to challenge your brain is simply to change something up in your daily routine. Experts tell us that things as simple as opening your car window, brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand and sitting at a different seat at your dinner table can all aid brain function. Although these tasks might seem too trivial to actually exercise your brain, our minds greatly benefit from new experiences.
Shiritori is a really fun word game that has its roots in Japan. The premise of the game is simple. One of two opponents is given a letter. Player 1 then has to spell a word that begins with that letter. After player 1 has gone, player 2 then has to create a word that starts with the ending letter of player 1’s word. So if player 1 starts with “extraordinary” player 2 then can come up with any word starting with “Y”. In many computerized versions, a player wins when they reach a certain score. Find an online version of Shiritori here.
Coloring has been a national craze in recent years. Adults have been flocking to their local Barnes & Noble and snatching up coloring books. While this may seem silly to some, there is actually great reasoning to this madness. Many coloring enthusiasts think this new found pastime helps them concentrate, but studies show it actually frees up your mind, which helps your brain focus and think differently.
This now famous game was first invented as early at the 1700s, but it wasn't until 1913 when Arthur Wynne published the first modern “word cross” in the New York World. And ever since then, this game has been an international sensation, with perhaps the most famous version being the daily one published by the New York Times. Crosswords are great for your brain because they force you to think outside the box. Here’s a clue that proves my point:
Bank deposit - 4 letters
A natural thought would be that the answer is CASH. While this clue could certainly have that answer, another very plausible answer in the world of crosswords is SILT. Bank in this case refers to a river and not the actual establishment.
Playing an instrument
We’ve done leg day, chest day, and arm day. But now it’s time for that full-body workout - and that’s exactly what playing an instrument is like for your brain. Scientists have found that while playing music, every single area of your brain is working, with extra focus on the motor, visual and auditory cortexes. If this isn't proof to pick back up that old rusty guitar, I don't know what is.
As a creative agency, we are always working our brains, but sometimes we fall into too comfortable of a routine. Unfortunately, during these times our brains aren't working as hard as we wish. Consciously changing up our day to day with these simple exercises sure helps keep us out of that rut, and hope they will help you too!