By Asma Naim
Many people spend a great deal of time in the gym working on their bodies, but can we say that there are clever apps to keep their minds fit as well? Just like a healthy physical form, a healthy mind also needs to flex its mental muscles and get some exercise. Brain training apps combine the latest in brain science with puzzles and mind games in order to exercise your capabilities. A study in 2012 analyzed 151 computerized training studies published between 1984 and 2011, and found that certain training tasks had a big effect on working memory, processing speed and brain function. In short, playing computer games for a few minutes a day can literally change your mind.
Here are six apps that can help you stay fit mentally:
This popular app is split into sessions of three games tailored to your goals: memory, attention, problem solving, processing speed or flexibility of thinking. The games are played against the clock and change every time. Developers say just one session a day can improve mental skills and users can track progress and compare performance with others. In their own words: “We transform science into delightful games”.
Fit Brains aims to improve your mental performance with a series of brain games, selected to help your weaker areas. More than 360 unique games and puzzles aimed at stretching and improving your mental agility lead users through various tasks. Sessions get harder as you improve and will always challenge you and provide a solid brain workout. It keeps track of your progress and makes recommendations on how to challenge yourself and alter your training routine.
Elevate aims to help you improve your processing, memory, brevity, processing and more through simple-but-mentally stimulating games. The Elevate process starts with you choosing what aspects of your mind you’d like to improve. After a short opening test, the app will serve up your choice of 3, 5 or 7 training sessions a week, tailored to your goals. Games feel challenging and fun. Everything is scored so you can see your improvement from week to week, and tests automatically adjust in difficulty to keep you on your toes.
Braingle helps to maintain the sharpness of the brain and improve the reasoning ability of a person through riddles and optical illusions. It is different from other brain training apps that employ memory and reaction based tests. You can also compete with your friends and family members in figuring out the fun riddles.
Eidetic uses a technique called spaced repetition to help you memorize anything from important phone numbers to interesting words or facts. It works differently from typical brain training apps by using items that have meaning and context, like phone numbers, bank account details, or a new quote worth reciting. Notifications remind you when it’s time to test yourself and spaces out tests over time to make sure you retain the information in long-term memory.
CogniFit Brain Fitness improves cognitive abilities, such as memory and concentration, with sleek, fun and addictive games designed by neuroscientists. Users can track progress and access insights about overall brain health. Competitive players can challenge friends, too. After an initial quiz, the app adapts each game’s difficulty to your profile and gives you recommendations based on your results. Developers found that users saw improvement by spending at least 20 minutes, two to three times a week, playing the games.
Remember always that the goal here after all is to train your brain, not just play video games. These games are helpful, but they’re only a part of what you need to do in order to have a stronger brain.