Exercise is good for your body—it keeps you healthy and gives you a competitive edge. Exercise is also good for your brain, and provides you with a competitive edge that makes you sharper and improves job performance.
On the one hand, you have age wearing out your neurons at a rate of about 5% per decade once you reach adulthood. On the other side, scientists at Harvard, Stanford, and UC Berkeley claim that 97% of those who play online brain games show cognitive improvement.
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Here are some online tools to help you work your brain, meet your educational goals, learn more, and perform better.
Lumosity is a personalized training program with more than 40 games designed to improve cognitive performance. The Lumosity website cites a range of research conducted both by its own Lumo Labs and by the company’s sponsored Human Cognition Project in peer-reviewed studies demonstrating improved memory, creative performance, and cognition as a result of Lumosity training.
Lumosity boasts 60 million users. A limited number of games are available for free use. Subscriptions are available at $14.95/month as press time, with discounts for longer-term commitments. Subscriptions provide access to a wider variety of games and to personal coaching.
The New York Times notes that while some independent studies show that “brain games” can improve memory and other attention tasks, the jury is still out whether the improved results really raise cognition or stem memory loss or merely indicate that the more you play these games, the better you get at them.
In addition to an online personalized and progressive brain training program based on a mental profile, Happy Neuron offers a collection of apps to improve language and image recognition skills, as well as a simplified version of its workout program for use on a tablet. Like Lumosity, subscriptions are $14.95/month with discounts for longer contracts.
Today’s business world is global in scope, and the more language skills you have, the better you are able to navigate the worldwide marketplace. Mango Languages focuses on conversational skills for over 60 different languages along with short primers on the culture and customs of wherever it is you’re trying to have a conversation.
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A pronunciation feature lets you compare how you’re saying something compared to how a native speaker pronounces it. There is also social media interaction with other language learners, downloadable content, and versions aimed at business users.
Mango costs $79 to learn one language, with discounts for purchases of multiple tracks. Some libraries have subscriptions to Mango, so you might be able to use the service for free with a library ID number.
During the Renaissance, chess was used to teach war strategy—how to play offense and defense, how to position pieces to protect your resources, what to sacrifice and when and, how to envision the ramifications of a potential move three or more moves later. In other words, chess helps you hone the strategic skills necessary for business.
There are all sorts of chess games available online. The best ones, such as chess.com, not only let you play an opponent online and participate in tournaments, but also offer tutorials and video instructions, as well as apps for mobile device use.
You can use Chess.com for free, but with a subscription you get analysis of your game and training. Subscriptions are $5, $7, or $14/month, depending on the package, with discounts for longer-term commitments.