Your brain matters.

Like your body, the grey matter between your ears needs constant exercise and stimulation in order to stay in tip top shape.

So why not work it out throughout the week?

Take your mental health seriously and sustain a happy, healthy mind by trying some of these brain training activities!

1. Sudoku

Sudoku is a logic-based puzzle, and could be just the thing to keep your brain young and healthy. The Alzheimer's Association has endorsed Sudoku as a 'brain game' [1] that might help reduce the risk or effects of Alzheimer's and dementia, so it's worth giving a go.

Sudoku (PD)

2. Bingo

As well as helping to improve concentration and focus, bingo can help to keep our minds happy. Our bodies work in a positive manner when we're rewarded, and it's the 'reward system' that triggers a positive effect when playing a round of bingo. Check out sites like Wink bingo [2] if you fancy a bit of a boost, need a break from your day or just fancy focusing on something fun for a while.

3. Fit Brains games


Fit Brains [3] is a platform developed by Rosetta Stone, and is a challenging series of different games (accessed online) which allows participants to measure their mental ability. It assesses your level of cognition, your progress, and how you compare to other players in your age group. Play the games as often as you like and see if you notice a difference in your mental functioning.

4. Countdown

You don't have to go online or download apps in order to exercise your brain. There are plenty of opportunities offline, and you probably already have access to them every day. 
For example, try participating in Countdown next time it's on TV. Challenge yourself to score highly on the word rounds, and time yourself to participate in the maths quizzes too.

5. Crosswords

A daily crossword could prevent or slow down mental decline, so grab a newspaper and give it a go. A challenging crossword will help to improve your verbal skills and problem solving capacity, as well as giving you that satisfying 'ah ha!' moment when it all comes together!

6. Riddles

Riddles force the brain to stretch beyond auto-pilot, challenging your ability to think through problem to find a solution. Try doing a riddle every day – even if you never answer a single one correctly, you'll be giving your brain cells a good work out.

7. Meditation

A study by the UCLA [4] has found that long-term meditators have better preserved brains than non-meditators as they grew older. And, as well as making your brain healthier, meditation can make you happier too: it's an effective treatment for depression and anxiety [5].

8. Relaxation

Finally, it might sound strange to add 'do nothing' to a list of brain training activities, but research suggests that taking some respite from concentration is exactly what your brain needs. So get off the computer screen, put down that book and go for a walk. Take a bath. Do some yoga. Your brain needs a little 'nothingness' in order to reflect, relax and recharge.

[1] abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/01/23/brain-games-may-help-thwart-alzheimers-study/

[2] winkly.winkbingo.com/in-the-know/how-bingo-can-improve-your-health

[3] www.lumosity.com/

[4] journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01551/full

[5] archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1809754

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