From pen-and-paper Sudoku and crosswords to specialized brain training apps, options for brain games are plentiful. People of all ages use these games to improve mental functioning and prevent brain aging.

Brain training may help improve your memory, response time, and logic skills, although research shows that the relationship between brain training games and improved cognitive function is complicated.1 If you’d like to give your brain a workout and have fun too, try these games and activities that may improve your mental focus and fitness.

Sudoku

Sudoku is a number placement game that relies on short-term memory. To complete a Sudoku puzzle, you have to look ahead and follow trails of consequences—if you put a 6 in this box, that one must be an 8 and this one a 4, and so on. This type of planning helps improve short-term memory and concentration.

You can play Sudoku online, on an app, or on paper. Look for a regular Sudoku in your newspaper, buy a book with a collection of puzzles, or download a free app for your phone or tablet.

Sudoku puzzles are available in varying degrees of difficulty. When you’re starting out, play the easy games until you learn the rules. If you’re playing on paper, use a pencil!

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Article submitted by Pat France, MSRN Member