Leisure activities designed to improve your cognitive skills

The brain is one of the biggest organs in the human body, controlling a multitude of muscles, and it needs constant exercise. Left inactive, it can spell problems for people later in life, and more specifically, they could be more susceptible to crude diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Mapping out neural activity will show which parts of the brain are the most creative. Although you may habitually do little in your leisure time, trying out the following activities will ensure you can achieve optimal cognitive function. We have outlined a few recommended activities, so take a look below and see what you think.

Learning a language

Despite the commonly held belief that it can be harder to learn a language the older you get, it could also be suggested that it is never too late to start, and you will impress your friends and family simultaneously.

With a wealth of apps and books (audio ones too!) at your disposal, those who are perhaps more curious and harbor ambitions to perhaps become fluent in Spanish or Italian will see their cognitive function soar.

You can choose to learn a new language on the go or in the comfort of your own home, and it shouldn’t be underestimated. Certainly when it comes to assembling words and understanding structures, in terms of syntax and tenses, taking up a new language will boost attention levels. Although learning a new language may come more naturally to some than others, it is a great starting point if you are stuck for ideas or need motivation.

Playing an instrument

To learn an instrument requires using a part of the brain that is primarily used for coordination. Inevitably, some instruments may be easier than others, and you have to take into consideration the feelings of those you may live with.

So, for some, a drum may be a no-no as they can be quite noisy, but perhaps playing the violin or piano is more elegant. With the piano, you may become more confident when it comes to navigating certain keys. Over time, you may attain a level where you will be able to play without notes in front of you. There is certainly a connection between mind and body for learning an instrument, and aside from adding another string to your bow, it can improve cognitive function.

Card games

In essence, card games provide a lot of fun for the family, but they are also crucial to improving your memory. Moreover, they can help with cognitive development in terms of inculcating recognition and the promotion of more complex math concepts.

This is certainly the case when it comes to playing games, such as blackjack and poker. The latter requires a certain degree of skill as well as an innate ability to play the right cards at the right time, and there are plenty of places where you can put your newfound knowledge to the test.

Yes, on this list, you will find some of the best sites to play online poker for real money. This includes Ignition and BetOnline, and you will find an array of sit & go’s as well as other tournaments to fuel your love for poker. BetOnline has a dedicated poker app that can be downloaded for iOS and Android devices, and players can compete in Omaha and Texas Hold’Em cash games.

Tackling puzzles and crosswords

Patience is the operative word when it comes to tackling puzzles. Yes, puzzles come in all forms and guises, and the more pieces, the inherently harder it will be to complete. However, if you have a few hours to spare or find yourself stuck at home on a rainy day, then doing a puzzle can keep boredom at bay.

Moreover, crosswords are a great way to keep your brain active. Many papers will have cryptic crosswords splashed across their pages, and they can be done on the way to work. However, those doing crosswords for the first time, are unlikely to stretch themselves too much and do something that can be fiendishly difficult.

Nevertheless, apart from improving your vocabulary, crosswords can feed more creativity, and this activity seems to be a more obvious choice.


Training the brain can encompass many forms, but doing something that is fun and deviates from the monotony of everyday tasks will only lead to improved cognitive function, and you will acquire new skills along the way.

The leisure activities that we have discussed in this list will fulfill this. Now, you just have to pick something that will motivate you, and you will reap the results.

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