Mental health 02/09/2013 at 11:30

Flex Your Brain Muscle

Keeping yourself in the best shape possible does not always require breaking a sweat. A huge part of maintaining total well-being encompasses keeping the mind in top-notch shape as well. Research into this area continually attests to this fact, and the newest fitness trends takes these things very seriously. Mental health is now being offered to people from the comfort of their own desks. Referred to as “Brain Gyms,” the workout circuit has moved away from ellipticals, treadmills, and weight machines. Instead, interactive games are the required stops for raising your potential. These workout stations focus on strategic thought processes, memory recall, and concentration skills. Just like regular gyms that require a monthly membership, maintaining your mental health through these channels has an annual cost as well. However, also like a traditional gym, this fee gains you access to trainers and all kinds of other perks that are designed to allow you to get the most out of the experience.


While the evidence out there now suggests that these brain gyms can do nothing but help, conclusive studies on individual programs by the experts are going to require more time for analysis. According to researchers at institutes such as the University of Ottawa, determining whether or not regular activities that these services provide actually improve specific cognitive abilities or lead to higher rates of productivity is going to require more evidence.

The memberships for these Brain Gyms offer members different types of “brain fitness” programs, ranging from basic training to advanced exercises. The most basic courses are designed to target the pre-frontal cortex. As the neural networks of this area improve, so do the skills mentioned above. Success with the mental tasks within the games will translate to success in other tasks that require the same kind of mental processes. Standardized tests that are designed to measure personal aptitudes or a person’s IQ certainly do test some of the same skills sets and cognitive abilities that these programs seek to improve. However, these programs are designed to do more than maintain cognitive abilities and nurture them to a certain level like many conventional online training courses. The activities included in these new kinds of programs allow for an expansion of mental ability based on the progress that you consistently make as you move forward.


Breaking a mental sweat does require some commitment, however. The frequency of completing the exercises definitively correlates with one’s success rate using the programs. The majority of sites recommend about 30 minutes of play, two to three times a week. Your results are also monitored and evaluated by professionals who alter game parameters based on one’s success. In other words, it is more than completing a weekly crossword puzzle.