What do you do when you want to feel stronger? You head to the gym for a workout. What do you do when you want to feel more focused? Reach for a cup of coffee? Not so fast. The brain needs real exercise too. The mind needs to be challenged to increase cognitive skill and a typical gym session won’t get you there. Recent studies have shown that playing games improves memory and performance of everyday tasks. Luckily, there are many online resources to train your brain.

Simple Video Games

There are thousands of brain-boosting games available online and they don’t need to be complex or specially designed for you to see results. Most classic board and card games are enough to begin enhancing your memory. Simple games are great because they’re quick to find, easy to learn, and fun to play. Here are a few great games to get your mind going:

Classic Checkers

Checkers is one of those classic games that almost everyone has played before. It’s like chess, but the rules are less complex. With that said, it still requires critical thinking and planning to predict your opponent’s moves. Gametable also has other fantastic games that work on computer or mobile. Best of all, they’re free and don’t show ads.

Solitaire

A tried-and-true card game comes to the web. Solitaire, which may be the most popular card game on the planet, trains your brain to notice patterns and gives your memory a workout. It’s a simple, no-frills version of the game that’s easy to jump into.

Brain Trainer

A free brain training game that mixes memory, logic, and number games in a new puzzle everday. You can also track your scores and monitor your progress.

Board Games

For those who prefer a physical game, you could always play the tabletop versions of checkers or solitaire. The only challenge is finding the time to play with friends in person. Fill them in on your newfound knowledge of brain training through gaming and maybe they’ll join you. Here are a few more board game options that will exercise your mind:

Scrabble

Scrabble is one of those games you either love or hate. No matter how you feel about Scrabble, you can learn a lot from playing it. Remember words you’ve long forgotten, learn new words, and practice your spelling all while having a competitive (and entertaining) match.

Chess

The best way to play chess is in person. Nothing beats the feel of the pieces in your hand as knock out your opponent. To be good at chess, you really need to think, and regular play will keep you super sharp.

Catan

Catan is arguably one of the most popular board games of the decade. It’s fun to play with friends and provides significant opportunity to train your brain. In Catan you must: strategize against your opponents, track resources, and maintain a winning strategy. You’re always thinking ahead.Keeping both your mind and body active is essential, and game play is a great way to find that brain fitness that the gym can’t provide on its own. According to a recent study, starting early and doing it often may even stave off dementia and memory loss as you age. You should exercise your mind as much as possible to maximize the benefits in the long term, but you’ll likely see an impact in just five to six weeks of regular play. Just five minutes a day on brain boosting puzzles will significantly increase mental wellbeing. So get active, challenge yourself, and enjoy gaming!

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