The five best games and activities to keep your brain active

By the year 2030, it is estimated that 7.6 million Indians will suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. As we get older, dementia can become a real worry. Our minds may not be as sharp as they used to be; we can become forgetful or unclear in our thinking. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Scientists now believe there’s a huge amount we can do to prevent or slow down cognitive decline later in life. Keeping your brain active could be key in postponing the onset of dementia and playing certain games and exercises could make all the difference. We’ve rounded up the latest studies and found a range of activities to keep your brain active. Which ones will you try?

1. Chess

There are over 5 million people who suffer from dementia in India. Participating in mentally stimulating activities can help cognitive functions, warding off dementia. These activities include reading, doing puzzles and playing chess. In fact, chess is a particularly good brain builder as it’s easy to learn yet every game is totally different. You might even consider moving onto the ancient Chinese game of Go, if you’re looking for a real mental workout that is!  

2. Letter writing

Research in the peer-reviewed Medical Journal of Neurology suggests that people who wrote letters in later life had a slower mental decline than those who didn’t. Sending and receiving letters is also thought to help those who are already showing signs of dementia, as it may help keep fond memories alive and forge closer ties with loved ones. 

3. Yoga

Some experts believe that yoga and meditation can prevent and even reverse memory loss. It’s thought that yoga helps reduce stress over time and exercises the brain by encouraging practitioners to remember poses and concentrate on breathing, movement and visualization. 

4. Listening to music

Listening to music has emerged as a very effective way to manage, and even lessen the symptoms of, Alzheimer’s. According to a study, listening to a personalized music program can help reduce anxiety in Alzheimer’s patients, as well as improve mood. The results of many studies imply that listening to music can ease symptoms of dementia and generally improve a patient’s quality of life.

5. Reading

Those who keep reading for pleasure and/or keep focused on words through crossword puzzles have been consistently found to have a reduced risk of mental deterioration. Why not take a trip to your local library or, even better, set up a book club so you can combine reading and socializing? 

According to a Lancet study, neurological disorders, including dementia, have doubled since 1990. The need to take charge of our mental, physical and cognitive health has never been more pressing. Good health insurance is clearly extremely important as it ensures patients get appropriate care without having to face the financial burdens of large treatment bills.