Sunset Angles © lynette sheppard

Sunset Angles © lynette sheppard

Menopause plays havoc with our mental faculties. Brain fog, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, loss of focus are just some of the symptoms that plague us. Even after the worst of the Pause is in our rear view mirror, our minds just don’t seem as sharp as they once were. A consequence of aging? Well, maybe. Then again, maybe we can give it a kickstart.

Playing games like Scrabble, learning a new language, or doing math in your head surely can help exercise our brains. I tried all of these and while it seemed to help; after a while I just plateaued. I really wanted my old, sharp mind back – I needed help but didn’t know where to look.

Then I happened across a brain training website called Lumosity. I started out playing the free games and was instantly hooked. I signed up for the family plan for a year. Now I can’t imagine missing my daily workouts.

Based on the science of neuroplasticity, or brain plasticity, Lumosity trains our brains in a number of areas: attention, flexibility, task switching, memory, problem solving, and more. The brain is not static nor is learning confined to a single part of the brain. Basically, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. You can even teach a damaged brain new ways of processing to recover function.

Lumosity games are fun, but more important, they stimulate your brain to get in shape. Games become more complex and difficult as you master them. You receive scores and points as you “exercise” each cognitive area and you are able to map your progress in them as well as track your overall improvement in BPI or Brain Performance Index.

You can also check your BPI against others of your age group. I personally don’t care how I stack up against others. I am much more interested in my improvement over time. Like it says on the Lumosity site: Training is a marathon, not a sprint. (OK, I just checked myself vs others for the first time in months. I was about average when I started my training – around 50th – 60th percentile, now I am in the 90th percentile for my age group. Woo hoo!)

So the next time you are tempted to play Angry Birds or Candy Crush, skip on over to Lumosity and give your brain a workout. (While Lumosity is best played on your computer online, there are also Lumosity apps for the iPad  and iPhone that I use when traveling.)