Two women sitting at table talking and playing cards

Remember those games you used to play as a kid that helped you learn? Chances are, you had so much fun playing them that you didn’t realize you were learning.

As an adult, you can still use games to boost your brainpower. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have found that games and other mentally stimulating activities may help protect seniors against mild cognitive impairment. While games are one route you can take, simply using a computer, engaging in crafts or social activities can offer benefits as well.

Flex your mind’s muscles

When it comes to boosting your brainpower with games, there isn’t any 1 type that’s the best to try. There are great board games, puzzles, riddles and even video games to get your brain working. They can help you sharpen math and word skills and boost logical thinking.

The important thing is to play something that you find fun and challenging. Exercising your brain is as important for your health as exercising your body, and it may keep your brain sharp and protect you from memory problems later in life. Popular games for seniors include crossword puzzles, other word games such as Scrabble or Boggle; the number-puzzle game Sudoku, and even video games.

Just don’t expect miracles. The Global Council on Brain Health says claims made by some of the companies responsible for a popular category of online “brain games” have been exaggerated.1

There’s certainly a benefit to be derived from activities that require you to use your noggin, and games can be a part of that. But you might also help your brain stay sharp through a combination of eating right, staying physically active, learning new skills, socializing and engaging in a variety of activities you like.2