7 apps to give your brain a workout

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If someone mentions getting into shape, you probably think of exercising, getting outdoors and eating better. But a mental workout is just as important for your health.

Just a few minutes a day can help keep your brain healthy and your mind sharp. With so many apps available on smartphones, there are plenty of ways to start building positive habits with just a few taps. If you’re looking for ways to train your brain, these apps can provide a fun place to start.

1. Lumosity

Lumosity has been around for a decade and has become a popular app. It includes a series of mini-games to get your brain working. The games are split into categories including speed, memory, attention, flexibility, problem-solving, word, and maths. The variety of colourful games means you can focus on a particular area or create a workout that covers them all. The app can also create a daily programme for you and will track your scores to show how you’ve improved.

The app will start with a fit test to provide you with a baseline and then provide three quick games every day to make it easy to fit into your daily routine. You can use the app across multiple platforms, from your mobile to a desktop computer. While there is a free version of Lumosity, to unlock all the games and features, there is a monthly subscription.

2. Peak

Peak is a slick app containing an assortment of mini-games that are designed to push your cognitive skills. Again, these exercises are broken down into several subjects ranging from mental agility to language. There are more than 30 games to choose from in total to ensure your daily workout remains fun and fresh. Each day you can log in to complete a daily set of games that promise to get you thinking. You can also set goals and the app will provide challenges that link to them.

The app provides you with plenty of statistics to track your progress too. Not only does it let you see your own brain map but lets you compare it to your friends, your age group, and others that work in your industry. There’s plenty to keep your focus on the free version of Peak but you can choose to upgrade your membership for a monthly fee.

3. Happify

Happify is a little different to other apps that focus on boosting your speed and concentrating. Instead, it delivers a series of games that were developed to improve mindfulness and help users overcome negative thoughts and stress. It aims to help you break old, potentially negative, habits and take control of feelings and thoughts.

The app is free and includes games to play, as well as meditations. With over 65 tracks designed to improve mental health, this is a brain training app that can boost your emotional wellbeing. One of the interesting features is a huge report on character strength, which outlines which of the 24 identified strengths, from creativity to leadership, are most essential to who you are.

4. Elevate

Elevate’s series of games are designed to improve your focus, processing speed, and more as you go through a personalised daily exercise. As well as helping you to develop particular skills, the app also aims to boost self-confidence and productivity that could benefit you.

The app logs your streaks and scores on a calendar encouraging you to log on daily. There are over 30 games that become more difficult as your scores rise. The app offers a basic version for free, which limits the number of games you can play each day, and an enhanced version, which you’ll need to pay for. The pro subscription unlocks more games and lets you play them as often as you want.

5. Not the Hole Story

Not the Hole Story can get you thinking by figuring out the answer to lateral puzzles and more. If you like solving riddles, this is a great app for you to download. The app can broaden the way you think and how you approach problems as you work your way through the challenges.

If you’re struggling to complete a riddle, the app will provide a series of hints that allow you to improve your skills over time. It’s a great option for completing puzzles with someone else or sharing the riddles with family and friends to see if they can solve them faster than you.

6. Fit Brains Trainer

Fits Brains Trainer is a bold and colourful addition to brain workout apps. As with the above apps, it provides a series of games that can help to improve areas like concentration and memory. One key difference is that it includes an emotional intelligence training function. Some of the games focus on building skills like self-control, perseverance and people skills, providing users with a chance to improve their emotional control. As with the other apps, you can log your results to see your progress to motivate you to stick to a daily workout plan.

As with some of the other apps, you can complete the exercise on your smartphone or log in to your computer and a subscription unlocks more features for you to try.

7. Sudoku

While there isn’t just one Sudoku app, there are plenty of free options for you to download to complete these number puzzles. Sudoku can really get you thinking and boost your logic skills in the process as you work out which number belongs in each tile. The puzzles have been around for decades but started to become popular around the world in the 2000s.

Beginner Sudoku puzzles can be completed in minutes giving you a quick workout each day, while the more challenging ones can take some time to puzzle out. It means you can set the level of difficulty you want and there’s definitely a sense of satisfaction when you complete a particularly challenging one.

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