Think of this app as a personal trainer for your mind. Its customized "workouts" stimulate the growth of connections between your brain cells (rather than your muscle cells), boosting working memory and attention. Start by prioritizing the areas you want to focus on, like problem solving or memory; Lumosity uses that info to determine the types of training sessions it assigns you. As you play-daily or in your downtime-the app tracks changes in your speed, memory, attention and problem-solving scores-like weigh-ins for your gray matter.
Free for iPhone and iPad.
Speaking another language has proven brain benefits. Bilingualism strengthens cognitive reserve, or the density of neural connections, which protects against decline later in life and staves off Alzheimer's Disease. This app helps you learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese or Italian in bite-size portions, with quick and simple reading, writing and speaking games. According to an independent study funded by the app makers, 34 hours on Duolingo is equivalent to one semester (11 weeks) of a college language course.
Free for iPhone/iPad and Android.
MORE: The At-Home Thor-Inspired Workout
New York Times Crossword & Top Crossword Puzzles
Crossword puzzles are a classic way to keep your mind nimble and stay sharp as you age. With the New York Times app, you get the same crossword puzzles that are in the print version, plus access to an archive of 6,000 more. Like the paper, it'll cost you. If you're not a fan of the $3 a month price, the free (and ad-free) Top Crossword Puzzles is a great alternative.
NYT Crossword: Free for first week. Subscribe monthly for $2.99, biannually for $9.99, or annually for $16.99.
Available for iPhone, iPad and Android.
Top Crossword Puzzles: Free for Android.
For two more brain-stimulating app suggestions, head over to YouBeauty.
- by Katy Lindenmuth