Think Beyond the ‘Game Night’ Classics to Keep Brains Fit While Having Fun

Think Beyond the ‘Game Night’ Classics to Keep Brains Fit While Having Fun

| By Alvin Tin

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Boredom-busting Activities for Brain Health

Now is the perfect time to incorporate game night into your weekly routine! Whether you’re playing in person or virtually, some good old-fashioned competition can help break up boredom and create fun social interactions – all with the added bonus of supporting brain function. And since play is fun, it can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, which can relieve stress and promote an overall sense of well-being. To keep game night fresh, think beyond the boardgame classics!

Try out these takes on games and exercises to shake things up, while helping to keep brains fit and active

Swap Out Cards

Traditional matching card games can help hone your memory skills but there are other simple and entertaining ways to stretch the brain. Word or sound chains can keep people of all ages entertained and support memory and concentration. Just choose a topic, such as colors or food. Each person must say a word of their choice plus the words selected by each person who went before them. Sound chains work similarly by creating patterns using snaps or claps.

Stretch your Legs

Some board games incorporate movement, encouraging individuals to get off the couch and engage in physical play, which is as important for the brain as it is for the body. Video games that incorporate motion controllers also make it easy and fun to get a boost of activity, without breaking too much of a sweat. Charades and other guessing games also get players on their feet, while stimulating the mind and creativity.

Use your Imagination

It may sound counterintuitive but when your imagination is at work, networks in the brain interact with one another1. So parents with little ones should let their minds wander and creative juices flow to help keep brains sharp. Build a fort or experiment with household items, from lunch bags to cotton balls. Instead of tossing out cardboard boxes and paper towel rolls, recycle them into craft materials. Let your imagination roam and see where it takes you.

Get Outside

Studies have shown that spending time outdoors has numerous benefits for overall well-being, and one study suggests that exposure to nature improves attention.2So whether it’s a game of chess or a challenging puzzle, try getting some fresh air and taking game night to the backyard.

Try the Neuriva Brain Gym

The Neuriva Brain Gym’s customized brain training experience uses personal assessments to identify specific cognitive improvement areas, personalizing the scientifically tuned training regimen to each user’s needs. Additionally, users can track individual cognitive fitness progression or participate in virtual challenges with friends and loved ones. Best of all, Neuriva is offering free premium access to its Brain Gym, a fun and interactive app with 14 games to exercise mental muscles, throughout the month of May.

For more brain-healthy games and tips, check out this article to help keep your brain performing at its best.

[1] Agnati, L. F., Guidolin, D., Battistin, L., Pagnoni, G., & Fuxe, K. (2013). The neurobiology of imagination: possible role of interaction-dominant dynamics and default mode network. Frontiers in psychology, 4, 296. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00296

[2] Gamble, K. R., Howard, J. H., Jr, & Howard, D. V. (2014). Not just scenery: viewing nature pictures improves executive attention in older adults. Experimental aging research, 40(5), 513–530. https://doi.org/10.1080/0361073X.2014.956618

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