I never thought I'd say this on a public forum, but, well, here it is: I am getting old.
It's true. My senior moments are becoming senior hours. Jumping out of bed in the morning now takes 10 minutes. When I walk into a new place I not only scan for fire exits, I locate the closest restrooms as well. Even my aches and pains have aches and pains. But few things worry me more than losing the ability to remember and think critically.
I've said it before, as have many before me, the brain is like a muscle. If you don't use it, stretch it, stress it, then that grey stuff between our ears can becomes as weak and flabby as my old Aunt Bessie's biceps. (Not a pretty sight. Trust me.)
Giving the contents of your aging noodle a good workout every so often isn't just for the mentally sedentary, even those who have to focus on specific mental tasks daily can benefit from workouts that change the routine and forces us to think about things differently. It isn't just using the mind that makes it stronger, it's also how we use it.
Going back to the muscle analogy, if weight lifting builds muscle mass, stretching keeps those muscle be pliant and efficient. Stretching your brain a bit with tasks that force critical thinking keeps you mentally pliant.
With an iDevice its easy to keep your cerebrum running tip top shape, and that's the subject of this week's Free on iTunes. It's easy to find brainteaser for iOS devices, but I prefer to the more traditional methods.
Puzzle games have been around for a very long time. I used to think that playing them was a waste of time, but early studies have shown that puzzle games can sharpen the mind in many ways regardless of your age group, and puzzles can even inhibit the onset of some age-related mental illnesses.
If you don't feel as sharp as you used to then maybe you've got a bit of brain-flab. Here are three iOS freebies that might help bulk up your grey muscle. So lets get to it.
Sudoku [6.1 MB, runs on all iOS devices capable of running iOS 7.0 or later, Maker: Mind the Frog Inc]
Free and easy Sudoku
With a name like Sudoku one might think that the game originated in Japan or China. While variations have been around for a long time, the Sudoku we know was invented by a 74 year old retired architect from Indiana. (Howard Garns was his name and the first Sudoku puzzle was published in 1979. Who knew?!?)
Today you'd be hard pressed to find a popular newspaper that doesn't have a Sudoku puzzle somewhere near the crossword puzzle.
The concept is simple; a 3x3 grid each subdivided 3x3 so that you have 9 3x3 grids and 9 spaces along any one side. The puzzle is preloaded such that each row, column, and sub-grid contains numbers from 1 through 9 and the number are unique to each row, column and sub-grid, but some of the numbers in the series are missing. You job is to complete the puzzle.
Sudoku gives you endless numbers of Sudoku puzzles. The free version only offer easy puzzles. The interface is simple and easy to learn. It has a note options in case you need to make those little tick marks to help you solve a puzzle. If you need more of a challenge then you'll have to pony up a buck.
Stick with the free version and see how fast you can complete and easy puzzle. You'll have to put up with small ads, but you'll get the same benefit.
Word Search Puzzles [2.2 MB, runs on all iOS devices capable of running iOS 5.0 or later, Maker: IceMochi LLC]
Again, if you glance through the puzzle section of most newspaper, along with Sudoku and crossword puzzles, you'll likely also find a word search puzzle. These are simple pattern matching games where individual words in a list is hidden in a large grid of letters. The letters are always consecutive, but the word can appear in any direction. Word Search Puzzles gives you puzzles for free!
Find the words. It's easy!
The game includes a timer, word counter, and theme based words. The easy puzzles are free and you can get up to 7 premium puzzle packs for a buck each.
If you're just looking for a time waster while standing in line, the free version should suffice.
Crossword Jewels [27.7 MB, runs on all iOS devices capable of running iOS 4.3 or later, Maker: Boy Howdy Technology LLC]
Here's an interesting twist on crossword puzzles. In Crossword Jewels you've got empty spots and a handful of letters. Your task is to figure out which letter goes in which spot.
A twist on traditional crossword puzzles.
The easy one are really easy, but the harder ones have more empty spaces. There's only one solution. It's actually a fun pattern matching romp.
The app is ad supported, but the ads are small, and you get all the difficulty levels. Nothing more to buy.
There's really not much more to it that that. If you like puzzles then this is an easy download.
And that's a wrap.