While being a physiotherapist I advocate physical activity over brain training for brain health. I definitely believe there are benefits to completing brain games and puzzles. Now this does not mean endless sessions on the play station or solitaire on the computer. The research is definitely stacking up in favour of researched and carefully planned activities. One great website I have found is BrainHQ which is heavily based on research in the field of neuroplasticity. New research is also showing that specific brain training is having an impact on dementia and improvements in executive functioning.
Brain HQ was started by Michael Merzencih, he is the founder of a great website Posit Science and prominent neuroscientist that works in the field of Neuroplasticity.
One study called the ACTIVE trial has shown that with just 10 hours of speed training ( a type of brain exercise offered by BrainHQ) dementia risk is almost halved. There was a 33% reduction in the incidence of dementia with 10 hours training and 48% reduction in the study participants that practised for longer than 10 hours. For more information on Speed training you can read the results on Posit Sciences Blog here, for full details do check out the FAQ.
Other studies have also shown how the use of brain training from Posit science have had benefits in executive functioning including speed, attention, working memory and useful field of view. This independent research was published in Plos one. For a summary and information on other research into BrainHQ brain training exercise read this blog article on Posit science.
See what you think is it time to add some brain training to your day on top of your physical activity.