Brain Games for Adults

senior playing chess, a memory game for adults

Summary: Mentally stimulating brain games can help you stay mentally alert well into your old age.

If you thought brain games were just a fun activity to do with your grandkids, think again!

Brain games are not just designed to boost your memory, but are effective in helping slow down cognitive aging.

Cognitive function impacts your ability to recall information, problem-solve, organize and plan. It also impacts your attention span. When we struggle to concentrate, feel overwhelmed with too much information or find ourselves forgetting things, it could be a sign of cognitive overload.

Brain games for adults are a great way to ‘exercise’ your mental muscles and keep your memory and processing power in top shape.

If you are eager to sharpen your mind, here are some ideas to help you add brain games for adults to your daily routine. But before that, let’s answer a few important questions.

What are games for the brain?

Brain games are activities designed to challenge and stimulate your brain, promoting mental agility and enhancing cognitive functions.

Over time, these brain games can become a gateway to cognitive fitness. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or just dipping your toes into the world of adult brain exercises, these activities can be a fun way to maintain your mental fitness.

What are the benefits of brain games for adults?

Engaging in adult brain games offers a multitude of benefits. Not only are they a source of enjoyment, but they also contribute to mental wellbeing. Here are some key advantages:

A sharper mind

Engaging in brain games regularly can enhance cognitive functions such as memory, attention and problem-solving skills. It’s like a workout for your brain, keeping it agile and sharp.

Reduced stress

Playing brain games can be an entertaining escape from the daily activities that usually keep you occupied. As you immerse yourself in challenging puzzles, crosswords or strategic thinking, your mind focuses on the game, helping to alleviate stress and promote relaxation.

Improved concentration

Many brain games require sustained focus and concentration. By practicing these games, you can enhance your ability to stay attentive for longer periods, ultimately benefiting your overall mental fitness and wellbeing.

Enhanced creativity

Certain mind games stimulate the creative areas of your brain. This boost in creativity can have positive effects on problem-solving in various aspects of your life.

Neuroplasticity boost

Brain games promote neuroplasticity — the brain’s ability to reorganize itself and create brand-new neural connections. This is crucial for learning and adapting to new information throughout your life.

Mood improvement

Playing games triggers the release of dopamine — the ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitter. This can lead to an elevated mood and a sense of accomplishment, making brain games a delightful way to unwind.

Fun brain games for adults

If your curiosity is piqued and you’d like to begin your mental exercises, try these brain games for adults.

1. Crossword puzzles

For a game that truly challenges your brain, a crossword puzzle uses many of your cognitive functions, like memory and spelling. And if words are your superpower, a moderately challenging crossword is one of the best brain stimulating games you could do.

2. Sudoku

Sudoku relies heavily on short-term memory and the use of logic and strategy to arrange nine numbers across a grid. Be careful, you could get too good at Sudoku! If you find that it becomes less challenging over time, you can look for more difficult level Sudoku puzzles, or try a different adult brain game.

3. Chess

Chess is an intellectually stimulating game but even more so for new players. Memorizing what each piece does and how it moves works as a good test for your memory. For master chess players, it’s more about strategy than short-term memory, so if you’ve been playing chess for years, this may not be the best brain challenge for you.

4. Online games

Online games can help sharpen your brain, too! Some games mentioned above, like Sudoku and Crossword puzzles can be played online. In addition to those two, there are numerous other games to challenge your mind at

5. Yoga

Yoga is essentially a physical activity, but is designed to bolster the mind-body connection! It is known to fortify areas of your brain that deal with memory, attention and language. Memorize your poses beforehand, and then see if you can follow your exercise flow without any prompting. Or, write the names of poses down on notecards. Pick a card and perform the pose from memory.

Overall, any activity you like that can be made to stimulate your brain or challenge your memory can work! For best results, try to spend 15-30 minutes a day playing or doing the activity.

What should I look for in brain games for adults?

As an adult playing brain games to improve your mind, you need to be intentional in choosing brain games. Before you make a choice, check to see if the game is targeted at ‘brain training’ or has been shown to improve cognitive functions and mental agility. A quick online search can typically answer these questions.

Then, try to choose games that challenge your language skills. Games such as crossword puzzles, scrabble, anagrams, or language-based riddles are good options.

Another option is logic activities. Look for games focusing on logical reasoning and problem-solving as they are excellent for enhancing cognitive abilities.

Finally, trivia quizzes, games that involve math or even complex boardgames and jigsaw puzzles are all among the best brain games for adults. It all depends on what you’re comfortable with and what you enjoy.

Choosing brain games for mental stimulation: additional benefits

Staying alert and keeping your mental faculties intact is great for mental stimulation, but there’s more to it than that. A sharp mind can help you maintain relationships with the people you care for as you age. You don’t have to worry about forgetting names and details that your loved ones share with you, and communication becomes easier.

A sharp mind also puts you in a better position to cope with a changing world and offer advice to your loved ones.

The good news is that you can find and play several brain games online — many are free, while others are paid. You can choose to play these games solo or find an in-person partner. Be cautious, though, and do your due diligence on online games that require you to enter your personal information.

Are brain games enough for mental wellness?

Mental wellness is a broad goal that hinges on multiple factors, including your lifestyle, genetics and unique circumstances.

While brain games are a good way to keep your mind sharp, focusing on your overall health and staying physically active is just as beneficial to your brain as memory games designed for adults.

Research has shown that aerobic exercise is one of the best things you can do to help your brain. When you perform aerobic exercise, you increase your blood circulation which provides your brain the oxygen and nutrients it needs for peak performance.

Aerobic exercise doesn’t have to be particularly strenuous to help your brain. There are numerous activities for seniors to help stay physically healthy, like gardening or yoga.

Healthy aging is an ongoing process and one that should be viewed holistically. No one thing can make you “healthy” and a mix of brain sharpening activities, a nutrient-dense diet, plenty of physical exercise and regular consultations with your physician are your best bet long term.

At Mutual of Omaha, we’re committed to providing you with the resources you need to live your best life, at any age!

FAQs on brain games

Q1: Can brain games really make a difference in adult cognitive function?

While more research is needed, engaging in mentally stimulating activities, including brain games, has shown potential in reducing the risk of cognitive decline as we age.

Q2: Are there specific brain games recommended for adults?

Yes, there’s a wide variety of mental games for adults to choose from. Some popular options include puzzles, strategic board games and digital apps designed for mental stimulation. Many of these are free to use and easily accessible.

Q3: How often should one play brain games for optimal results?

The frequency of playing brain games depends on personal preferences and schedules. However, incorporating them into your routine a few times a week can yield noticeable benefits over time.

Item #349023_0424