The Best Apps to Keep Your Brain Fit

There’s no shortage of apps that claim to boost your brainpower by having you pop numbered balloons in ascending order or drop blocks into obligingly shaped gaps. But does this really work?

Some real-world tasks do benefit from simple practice – arithmetic (for bill calculation, say) or improving spoken vocabulary. And some brain-training apps are now incorporating such exercises. The challenge of playing a new game could also help sharpen mental acuity – learning and other mental stimulation has been shown to stave off cognitive decline. Here are some apps that may help in with such topics:

The Best Apps to Keep Your Brain Fit


Instead of academic areas, Peak focuses on specific cognitive skills such as memory, mental agility, problem-solving, focus and language (that is, ability to communicate). Games tend to be more visual than Elevate, including a Sudoku-esque visual puzzle and number popping in numerical order.

The Best Apps to Keep Your Brain Fit


Still one of our favorites, Elevate incorporates a massive range of games underpinned by real-world applications, in five streams that hark back to school days learning: Listening, Writing, Reading, Speaking, and Math. Each of these spans intriguingly named skills such as Brevity or Eloquence. In one exercise, you’re asked to type in the best synonyms, rather than choosing from a list, which can be helpful for those struggling with that word on the tip of the tongue.

The Best Apps to Keep Your Brain Fit


Lumosity has backed away from its claim that playing Lumosity sharpens mental acuity in everyday life, but its team of neuroscientists, psychologists, and game developers are still turning out quick, beautifully designed exercises.

These are intended to work cognitive skills such as information processing, spatial orientation, and working memory, in surprisingly fun mini-games such as reorganizing a train track on the fly to get carriages home to the right station. The app also recently added a Mindfulness category comprising led meditation sessions for focusing breath and attention, ranging from one minute to several minutes long.

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