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How to find the best brain games and puzzles for your personality

Nov 22, 2011, 8:36 a.m.

There's an awful lot of discussion out there among doctors, scientists and other people in white coats as to the effect of brain-stimulating activity on things like senility and Alzheimer's. Unfortunately, all that discussion isn't producing any real answers--not yet, anyway. But you don't have to wait around for the jury to return a verdict on whether stimulating mental activities can keep your mind sharp. You can find examples of these games at with any quick Google search or visit to the bookstore. Here's a quick rundown on some of the best brain games and puzzles depending on your personality type.

The analytic problem solver

If you've ever been accused of being just a tad too analytic, you've probably come to the conclusion that it's not necessarily a bad thing. Especially if it gives you a leg up in being able to tackle brain games and puzzles like lateral thinking logic problems and riddles. Although most lateral thinking puzzles are found in books, you can find games like Wit's End or TriBond Trivia.

The verbal expresser

Those that are far better at expressing themselves with words always appreciate the opportunity to grow their vocabularies. One of the most effective games in this area is the good, old-fashioned crossword puzzle, which puts your personal lexicon to the test and lets you flex your flair for words. Another fun word-related game that you can play with others is Balderdash, and another classic standby is Scrabble.

The visual expresser

There are a huge number of fun and sometimes perplexing puzzles that those with more spatially oriented brains excel at. These range from simple optical illusions to complex geographic puzzles that ask you to visualize three-dimensional shapes from two-dimensional images (like trying to build a box with your mind). If you want to play with a group, try the game Mindtrap.

The numbers cruncher

Some people have a knack for numbers games, like Sudoku and KenKen, while others could swear that simply trying is enough to damage brain cells. Whether Sudoku is for you depends on your predilection for handling numbers like knife throwers handle sharp objects. Regardless of where you fall, this is one game that's like doing pushups for the brain.

The young-at-heart fun lover

Who said video games were for kids? If it was you, bite your tongue--but only hard enough to remind yoursself that these days you don't have to want to be a character in a science fiction movie to get something out of a fun video game. Especially since so many game systems, like the Nintendo Wii and the Xbox Kinect, have incorporated exciting new technology that makes playing video games a physical and mental exercise. If you like golf, test your mettle from the comfort of your living room with a game like Tiger Woods PGA Tour. If you're more into aerobic activity, Wii Sports offers a variety of different games that get you up and moving.

Believe it or not, staying home and playing round after round of brain games and neglecting your physical fitness could actually work against you. Doctors say that regular physical exercise is as good for keeping your brain fit as it is for keeping your body fit. In the long run, it's all about striking a balance, and remembering the timeless adage that too much of a good thing isn't always healthy. If you want to keep your brain fit, mix up your mental activity with a good bit of physical activity.

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