B5, O72…..Have you ever played BINGO?  I’m sure you have like I had.  You had a card and someone was clearly calling out the initial and number and yelling BINGO when you achieved whatever pattern they were asking for.  Ho, hum.  This is NOT the BINGO I did this past weekend.  This BINGO was fast paced, mentally challenging, no time to talk, have to focus or I’m lost, 80 year olds are putting me to shame type of BINGO.  My brain was EXHAUSTED after several hours of trying to keep up with the announcer spouting off numbers – forget the initials.  You just had to know which column that number might be.  Forget one card, you have a minimum of three and looking around most had at least nine and many had much more than that.  Gone are the chips and now they have “dabbers” which were quite fun punching the color on the appropriate number.  Looking around I was literally one of the youngest in the room and when one lady came up to us curious about our girls night out group she proudly said she was 80 and this is what she does to get out of the house!  SHARP AS A TACK!  I quickly gave up any hope of actually having a BINGO and instead focused on trying as hard as I could to actually get all the numbers they were calling (yes, they were coming that fast).  I got better as the night wore on and it was down right comical when you compared my inability to keep up with three cards to the seasoned veterans who had cards laid out across the table and able to not only dab their number but manage to pay enough attention to recognize they actually had a BINGO!

Who knew BINGO was an incredible tool to keep your brain alive and sharp??  Clearly, people who play BINGO know. I have seen many articles suggesting brain exercises to keep your brain sharp.  So, I did a deep dive into the studies and have listed other types of brain exercises that can keep dementia, Alzheimer’s and brain fog away.  READ ON….

There is clear science behind brain exercises decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. The ACTIVE Study (Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly), COGITO Study, IMPACT Study (Improvement in Memory with Plasticity-based Adaptive Cognitive Training and the Synapse Study all looked at brain training exercises and cognitive decline/function.  To summarize their findings…

  • Doing brain exercise showed improvement in cognitive and daily functioning compared to those who didn’t do the exercises.
  • Doing brain exercises slowed and decreased the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Doing brain exercises in one of the studies showed lasting improvement up to TEN years after the completion of the study (they did a follow up to the study to assess this).
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There are so many different type of brain stimulating activities you can do to stay sharp that don’t involve BINGO!!

  1. Crosswords: My 86 year old father does the crossword puzzle every day and to make it interesting he and his wife xerox the puzzle and they both do it at the same time to see who can finish first!
  2. Brain games: There are many APPS on your phone that make brain stimulation easy.  Suduko, wordle, solitaire, free cell are some of the examples of free games you can access.  There are also paid brain training apps like Lumosity or BrainHQ (they do have a free version).  If you don’t like one try another or mix them up!!
  3. Brain Teasers: Riddles, puzzles, and optical illusions are great for challenging your brain and thinking outside the box.
  4. Chess or Strategy Games: Games like chess, Go, or even strategy-based video games can help improve your concentration and strategic thinking skills.
  5. Memory Games: There are many memory games available online or as mobile apps that can help improve your memory and cognitive skills. In your APP browser just type in memory games for adults.  You will see things like matching cards, recall of words and many more.
  6. Reading and Learning: Keep your brain active by reading books, learning a new skill, or studying a new topic. Back to my 86 year old father, he is always watching some YouTube how-to video or masterclass to learn something new.  It doesn’t mean he will actually do it (at least I hope not).  He called very excited one day because he found a video on how to do a new procedure in open-heart surgery and another day how to electrically rewire his house!
  7. Mindfulness and Meditation: Practices like mindfulness meditation can help improve focus, reduce stress, and enhance overall brain function.
  8. Physical Exercise: Believe it or not, physical exercise is also great for your brain. It increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which can improve cognitive function.

Don’t do this for just a week and expect to have mastery over whatever avenue you have chosen.  Just stay the course.  Studies show it may take 3-6 months to get the full benefit of daily brain exercises!  But remember, the long-lasting effect can last for many, many years making it worth it.

To your health,