Brain games have received a lot of buzz for the last several years but is there any truth to the idea that this type of brain training can actually slow down or even prevent aging and cognitive decline? Many people believe that there is validity there, including one very famous athlete who regularly practices brain games.
Six-time Super Bowl winning quarterback and three-time league MVP award recipient Tom Brady’s diet and physical conditioning has been a hot topic among athletes and sports fans alike and he has not shied away from sharing them. Now, Brady has come out as an advocate for training his brain as well. In addition to these facets of his intense training regimen, Brady has been “brain training” for more than four years using BrainHQ exercises. And the brain games that he uses may not be what might first come to mind.
Designed for people with brain conditions ranging from memory loss to cognitive damage, Brady discovered the exercises in an article that appeared in Popular Science. With a desire to both sharpen his mind and relax after games, he began to use them. After noticing positive changes in his overall performance, he reached out to the makers of Brain HQ to meet.
Henry Mahncke, the CEO of Posit Science, which makes Brain HQ, recalled meeting Brady and his team: “The first thing that was pretty wild was that they had a personal team of neuroscientists. And we’re like, ‘This is the kind of thing you can do when you’re the greatest quarterback of all time.’ But what he told us was pretty striking. He said, ‘I’m at the point where I want to be the best in every possible way. I came across the exercises in “Popular Science”, and I can already see the difference in my brain function. This kind of brain training is like physical conditioning. It can help anyone.’ “That’s just not how we thought of brain training before. If you have bad cognitive function, we can help you. But Tom was using the same exercises that people in much worse condition use.”
Brain games like Brain HQ are helping others too. One study, which measured the mental agility of 621 participants both before and after training with the games, showed that just 10 hours spent with brain training games gives the participant a mental edge over non-participants up to one year later. Brain games for children continue to bring in large revenue streams. According to an article in Business Insider in 2011, brain games designed for kids had sales of more than $300 million dollars. And while there are plenty of resources that attempt to debunk the effectiveness of brain games, it is clear that there are many supporters of brain games who find value in the practice. Combining brain games with aerobic activity or other exercise may have even more health benefits, both mentally and physically.