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Why sharpen your brain starting now

September 9, 2022

Research conducted by the British university Exeter, in partnership with King’s College London, revealed that solving games that exercise the brain, such as crossword puzzles, can have a positive impact on cognitive aspects such as attention, information processing, and reasoning. The more regularly adults aged 50 and over played puzzles such as crosswords and Sudoku, the better their brain function.

The study published in the “International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry”  and included 19,000 participants. From their results, researchers calculate that people who engage in word puzzles have brain function equivalent to ten years younger than their age, on tests assessing grammatical reasoning and eight years younger than their age on tests measuring short term memory.

“We’ve found that the more regularly people engage with puzzles such as crosswords and Sudoku, the sharper their performance is across a range of tasks assessing memory, attention and reasoning. The improvements are particularly clear in the speed and accuracy of their performance. In some areas the improvement was quite dramatic – on measures of problem-solving, people who regularly do these puzzles performed equivalent to an average of eight years younger compared to those who don’t. We can’t say that playing these puzzles necessarily reduces the risk of dementia in later life but this research supports previous findings that indicate regular use of word and number puzzles helps keep our brains working better for longer.”, Dr Anne Corbett, of the University of Exeter Medical School, who led the research, said.

Experts interviewed by Valor Econômico newspaper point out that, besides the health benefits, professional performance is also favored. They list some other activities to practice in daily life that can improve cognitive performance:

  • Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand;
  • Take a different route to get to work/school;
  • Dress with eyes closed;
  • Wearing your wristwatch on the opposite arm;
  • Trying to write with your non-dominant hand;
  • Make a mental list of what you need to buy at the market;
  • Read a book and write down the points that are most important to you;
  • Try to recognize foods by their flavors;
  • At the end of the day, mentally recapitulate everything you did/where you were;
  • Try to memorize information instead of writing it down.

Source: University of Exeter | Valor Econômico