Get Smarter & Stay Smarter: 5 Games for a Healthy Memory
Medical science has confirmed that we have more control over our own mental acuity than we previously imagined. Over time, our memories invariably fade. The area of the brain responsible for memory development is known as the hippocampus. Despite documented medical research that approximately 0.5% of nerve cells are lost in the hippocampus every year there is encouraging news that nerve cell regeneration is entirely possible.
Various studies, including a Harvard Medical School Publication, indicate that neurogenesis can be reversed by way of multiple physiological and neurological stimuli. These include aerobic exercises, sexual experiences, and neurobics. The latter area of study is particularly important in that it details how ‘mental exercises’ can help to significantly improve memory.
How to Prevent Memory Loss with Natural Foods
Certain natural foods are far better for you at maintaining a healthy lifestyle than others. Eat lots of whole grain cereal, freshly squeezed orange juice, salmon, cauliflower, berries, spinach, sardines, sprouts, broccoli, and peanuts. You will be surprised by the results.
There are several activities that you can do to sharpen your memory and prevent its degradation. These include the following:
- Reading is a great memory tool – read up as much as possible on topics that interest you.
- Change your routine – shop at different stores, visit different places and travel.
- Take a different route to work – this keeps your mind sharp and your senses focused.
- Socialize – we learn from one another and it’s healthy to interact.
- Attend lectures or courses – nothing helps your memory more than ongoing learning.
- Ditch the GPS and use a paper map – you’ll be surprised by the level of concentration required.
- Do Physical Activities – instead of riding everywhere on your motorbike, car, Uber, or bus, try taking a daily walk, jog, or run. Swimming is considered the best all around physical activity you can do, and it has a minimal impact on your joints.
- Challenge your kids and grandkids to Contests – things like Scrabble, spelling, math, and science problems are terrific activities to keep your mind sharp. Test your kids and grandkids, to stay on your toes.
The Journal of Neuroscience published a study detailing the enhancements that are possible by playing 3D video games. Scientists are now of the opinion that memory loss can be prevented, perhaps even reversed, by stimulating the regeneration of nerve cells. A postdoctoral researcher in neuroscience named Florian Siebzehnrubl Ph.D believes that there could even be medications prescribed for repairing damage done to the hippocampus.
How Can Sensory Stimuli Such as Games Enhance Memory?
On a practical level, there are many workable techniques and strategies that can be employed to help sharpen memory, improve cognitive function, and prolong the benefits of a healthy memory. According to a study conducted by Yale University that focused on 500 second graders, a group who was made to play video game scored better in tests, compared to the group which was not allowed to play video games.
This serves to validate a long-standing claim that video games can also confer benefits for students, provided these games are enjoyed responsibly, and the right gaming titles are selected. And speaking of the best games to play, listed below are 5 of the best games that can improve player memory and numerical skills, and these are truly engaging and entertaining as well.
1. Starcraft, Starcraft II
For a long time, real-time strategy (RTS) games were perceived as helpful in developing one’s decision-making and strategic planning skills. This is precisely what one can expect from Starcraft, and its latest version, Starcraft II. The latter variant of the game offers 29 playable versions, with non-linear campaigns.
Although the playable versions are slightly different from each other, all endings remain consistent, keeping a more linear storyline. The opportunity to play different campaigns and to plan out the next activities allow for ‘improved brain flexibility’, which then help players in real-life situations. This ‘mind-mapping exercise’ in gaming effectively creates a blueprint for the player in an immersive, interactive, and sensory experience.
2. Call of Duty, Call of Duty Advanced Warfare
Fans of action-packed video games will often list Call of Duty as one of their ‘best selections’ and for all the right reasons. Designed as a first-person shooter game, this throwback game transports players to World War II where they get to put their skills to the test. New versions of the game feature a different landscape, and some titles explore a modern landscape, or even an environment set in the future.
One of the newest Call of Duty titles, Advanced Warfare, is set in a futuristic milieu and earned rave reviews when it was released. Whatever the setting or environment used, Call of Duty has managed to entertain and train players to become fully alert and engaged. In fact, a 2009 study suggests that playing these kinds of games can help the person’s ‘contrast sensitivity function’, allowing the players to discern differences better.
3. Classic Blackjack
Memory and cognitive function are among the many features that are prevalent among the world’s best blackjack players. One of the great modern ironies is the fabrication that gambling games rely on nothing more than serendipity and blind luck. Truth be told, blackjack is one of a select few strategy-based games that allows the player to gain a slight competitive edge over the house over the short-term. This is possible with card counting, blackjack strategy charts, and probability analysis.
Noted authorities on the subject of blackjack, such as Henry Tamburin Ph.D, have penned many in-depth articles, blackjack guides, and tutorials on this particular subject for 888casino, an internationally revered online gaming provider. Various blackjack strategies can be adopted and perfected prior to embarking upon real money play. Players will find tremendous value in reading up extensively on the blackjack strategy guide provided by 888casino.
The benefits of playing strategy-based card games like blackjack are clear. The top blackjack players consistently stay ahead of the game, much like leading chess players. Memory skills and mental sharpness can be fine-tuned by studying the literature, practicing the game, and adopting careful bankroll management.
Now, this is a fun and challenging game that can work for different ages. As an application, 2048 can be downloaded on your mobile device, and can be played anywhere. The challenge here is to join the numbers to come up with 2048. If two similar numbers are joined, these numbers are combined.
This is a recommended game for school children as this helps improve one’s memory and numeracy skills. It takes a lot of practice and patience to complete the objective of the game and sometimes a few games will not complete the objective. Although it is somewhat challenging for players, there’s no denying that 2048 has become a fun and challenging logic and Mathematical game around!
The rule of the game is simple — build a city, and make sure that it is properly managed, considering the finite resources around, and the happiness of the residents. First launched in 1989, the game has managed to redefine video and PC gaming.
The first title released in the series is SimCity, and from here, Maxis and Electronic Arts have issued many titles including the latest, SimCity Build, which can be played on mobile devices. Here, players are given the challenge to build a city, with the usual restrictions.
There are finite resources, utility requirements that must be satisfied, and resident demands. In the end, this game tests one’s planning skills and is a great tool for urban planning too!
The games listed above only validate the long-standing belief that certain video games can help in boosting one’s memory and numeracy skills. The key here is to select the games to be played, and play these responsibly. As always, diet and lifestyle choices play a big part in memory maintenance, mental health, and general well-being.