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Cognitive health is vital to function socially and thinking both clearly and creatively. One of the best ways to boost your cognitive function is through brain exercises. Brain exercises are defined as any activity that is mentally challenging enough to help you constantly learn and get better.

Among the most easily sustainable forms of brain, exercises are games. Not only are they enjoyable, but they push you to think strategically and make decisions under certain constraints. Here are some that can help you to improve your cognitive skills.

Poker

The premise of poker is simple — bet according to how high you think your hand ranks compared to the hands of your opponents. However, you may be surprised to learn that poker is a highly social game you can play with friends or strangers, as well. And with so many factors that could change the conditions of a game, players must be adaptable. The best way to do this is by developing the ability to read people and tweaking your strategies according to how they play. You need to recognize playing patterns and body language. These skills are vital if you want to win at poker, which opens up many opportunities to hone these skills. Constantly having to make quick decisions and controlling your emotions increases your cognitive capacity and keeps you alert.

Chess

Chess is an extraordinary intellectual challenge that forces you to sit for hours at a time. Each move that your opponent makes forces you to switch up your strategy. This makes chess a great way to improve concentration and train yourself to look at things from another person’s perspective. Chess can also train your planning, foresight, decision-making, and creativity. Because chess forces you to consider your conditions and be accountable for your actions, the skills you develop can also be extended to real-life situations involving personal or business decisions.

Scrabble

Scrabble can help you train diverse cognitive skills that you can apply to your everyday life. As a word game, it enriches your vocabulary to deepen your linguistic thought process. It also trains you to adopt tactics and strategies, ensuring that you can execute your moves and prevent your opponent from completing theirs. And because it is highly mentally engaging, Scrabble teaches you to improve your focus and memory.

Sudoku

Unlike the other games on this list, Sudoku is something that you can do in solitude. It’s a number puzzle that pushes you to think critically and improve your concentration. If you choose to time yourself, you can expand your learning capabilities and beat your personal goals. And because you can play the game alone, you can improve your cognitive skills at your own pace, keeping your brain working better for as long as you want.

Video games

Video games are fast-paced, requiring you to be on high alert. It also provides complex situations with many different possibilities, depending on what decisions you make in the game. Research has shown that playing video games improves cognitive skills. These include perception, attentional control, and decision-making. This can extend to one’s professional and educational endeavors. Individuals in these areas have exhibited greater cognitive ability when regularly engaged in playing video games.

In addition to their entertainment factor, games can be a productive way to spend your free time. Playing these games can enhance your cognitive function and help you perform better in other aspects of your life.