Over 50? Start training your brain

07/01/2016

As we get older keeping your mind active and healthy can become more challenging, there are many reasons behind this. Moving into retirement we find our brains aren't as stimulated as they used to be in the working world also with many older people becoming isolated they do not benefit from social interaction and engagement. Then there's aging in general, our mental abilities - on the whole - decrease with age.
However, there's much we can do to keep our minds in good shape. Michelle Roberts, BBC Health editor has reported on a large scale study which recently concluded that brain training - playing online games that give memory and reasoning skills a workout - is beneficial for older people. Researchers at King's College London found the mental exercises kept minds sharp and helped people with everyday skills such as shopping and cooking. Nearly 7000 people aged 50 and over signed up for the six month experiment. None of the participants had any problems with memory or cognition as far as the investigators were aware.
Some of the volunteers were encouraged to play online brain training games for 10 minutes at a time, as often as they wished. The others - the control group - were asked to do simple internet searches.
The researchers tested the subjects on a series of medically recognised cognitive tests at the start, then at three months and at six months to see if there was any detectable difference between the groups.
They found after six months those who played "brain training" games for reasoning and problem-solving kept their broader cognitive skills better than those who did not. And people over 60 who played these games reported better scores for carrying out essential everyday tasks, the Journal of Post-acute and Long Term Care Medicine reports. An earlier report by the same researchers suggests brain training has no benefit in people younger than fifty. So if you're over 50 it seems it's worthwhile training your brain!