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Apps To Help You Exercise Your Brain

February 20, 2014, 6:14 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Apps To Help You Exercise Your Brain

If you're feeling forgetful or you want to boost your brain power, have you ever thought about turning to a brain-training app? Apps that aim to boost your memory are popular, but do they really work?

Raena Rasmussen works out at the gym twice a week. She also gets exercise dancing.

"[It] helps me keep energy up throughout the day to keep going," Rasmussen said.

But Rasmussen admits, like most of us, she doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about working her brain.

"Sometimes at night I try to read a lot of articles about things that are going on," Rasmussen said.

We decided to have her, along with Amy Pugliese, try out Lumosity, a brain training app. The app has several different games that focus on five different areas: attention, brain speed, memory, flexibility and problem solving.

"The brain is like a muscle. If you don't use it, you lose it," Sanford Dr. Peter Johnson said.

Johnson says any exercise that works your brain is worthwhile.

"Whether that's an app on a computer or a crossword puzzle in a newspaper," Johnson said.

While this app could be beneficial, you might be better off reading or playing a musical instrument. Several recent studies have found that while using the app will improve your ability to play the specific games, they do not improve your overall mental capacity. Still, Dr. Johnson says more research is needed.

"The brain is really a mystery to us and we are still finding ways of trying to improve it," Johnson said.

Meanwhile, both Pugliese and Rasmussen say they're going to try to include brain exercises in their workout routines.

"Just like it's important to have fun with physical health, it's a fun way to engage your brain," Pugliese said.

"Just keep my mind quick and keep up with what's going on in the world," Rasmussen said.

Lumosity is one of several brain-training apps. You can also try CogniFit, CogMed, and Jungle Memory.

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