Keeping yourself and your brain active is always a top priority and one way to do this is with video games. Video games aren’t just shooting games or fantasy-world building; there’s a new genre of puzzle-building and sport-simulation games that may be beneficial for seniors or anyone looking to keep their brain active.
Games for staying mentally sharp. Brain Age is an educational game for the DS that uses a variety of mini games such as math problems, word memory and counting games to give the player a “mental or brain” age. The idea is to keep your pre-frontal cortex, the part of your brain responsible for higher cognitive function, active. With practice and training, the aim of the game is to lower your brain age and stay mentally alert.
Sport-simulation games. Other games like Wii Sports or Kinect devices by Microsoft for Xbox focus on sports simulation, encouraging increased physical activity which can be great if you’re no longer as mobile as you used to be.
The science behind these brain games. According to studies, the main benefit to video games regardless of genre is the act of trying something new. Any time you attempt a new task, your brain forms new pathways. Synapses are gaps in between neurons that allows neurons to pass an electrical or chemical signal to another neuron. The more synapses formed, the better. These new connections can then be applied to other tasks and situations.
So, give video games a try. Start with an educational game like Brain Age or a fun one like Bejeweled, a tile-matching puzzle game with 47% of players over 50-years-old!