Can You Exercise Your Brain?


Recently, brain exercises have been trending as games and online trivia questions. Some developers claim they can improve your IQ if you do them often. They talk about scientific studies that back their claims, but the real question is, do brain exercises work?

According to some experts, there’s no sure answer. The positive effects you can get from brain training dramatically depend on other things, such as your general well-being, how well you keep your diet, and your entire cognitive setup. However, despite their effectiveness, they can’t bring about miraculous effects. In short, no matter how great it sounds and how innovative it would be, they cannot prevent dementia. 

Weighing the Evidence

Brain training is very beneficial for older people. In a study involving more than 2800 people above the age of 65, researchers discovered some types of brain exercises can improve mental abilities and promote independence.

The study also proved that going through several weeks of brain training can help people become better at specific skills. For example, people who trained their visual skills were able to get better at it, while people who trained their memories were also able to see some improvements though not very much.

In the end, some people improved at the mental tests they practiced during the study. However, the test couldn’t confirm that those improvements translated into their everyday lives. According to some experts, this could be because the participants didn’t have any cognitive impairment. 

Nevertheless, the study continued. The researchers got back the participants together after ten years when they were about 82, and about 60 percent of them reported that they were doing better and, if not that, just as well with their daily life activities. But there was a noticeable decline in the other half of the control group that didn’t go through the brain training. In the end, they were doing better than people in the other half, but the difference was not by a wide margin. 

Is There Any Harm to Doing Brain Exercise?

No. There’s no harm in doing brain exercises, but they’re not a miracle cure for cognitive decline. They can’t prevent dementia, and as great as they are, they don’t increase your IQ. Brain training programs are less effective than doing things that engage your brain and keep you learning. For example, you can engage in creature activities or learn a foreign language. You can also play cards or board games if you enjoy playing them. There’s no reason you should keep doing something analogous when other techniques work.