September 18, 2009

And one and two and one and two

Update on exercises, brain plasticity and all that...
Still slogging through the Wii 30 day challenge although it kills me for the day after each exercise session - and I deleted squat jumps out of the plans for yesterday as my knees felt this was altogether too much to ask. Still, my running is getting better and I can smash the targets in boxing...
So today, as my body needs rest, I thought I would try exercising my brain - and ooh, is it rusty! I know I've been choosing simpler books to read and avoiding mental challenges but I didn't know my slumming had had such an effect. I signed into a site by Luminosity: and signed up for their 7 day free trial of the games.
They are great - much better and more challenging and also cuter than the ones on Brain Age 1 and 2. You do math, identify things through memory, create words, match shapes and colours. Most of the games are a bit like the Swope test - you have to do two things at once, and the results highlight how your brain reacts to these two demands.
For example, in one game, you must click on a spot where a bird appears while remembering the letter that appears at the same time. The letter is put into a hangman-type format and you can guess the bird's name or fill it all in with "snapshots" (each bird you click uses one shot). Sometimes, while looking for the bird, you forget to look for the letter. Or you just see an edge of it. You get higher points for clicking more accurately on the bird and for solving the puzzle earlier.
Or there's the penguin maze puzzle, which I found really hard. You are racing another penguin through a maze to catch a fish (it seems nice that the other penguin moves so slowly except when he beats you and you feel very stupid) - using the arrows on your computer to direct your little penguin. The trick? The maze rotates and you have to remember the orientation of the penguin with relation to the arrow on screen to use your arrow keys successfully. I got completely confused and couldn't make my mind figure it out, no matter how hard I tried. But the penguin is cute when it catches the fish and oh so sad when it loses it so I'll be back and try again.
Math is done with raindrops...each drop has a puzzle in it and you must solve it before it adds to the pond. Sundrops come along that evaporate all the raindrops. This one I'm sure I will get after more practice - it seems when I don't do math regularly, I really forget sums and etc.
After each puzzle you are given a rating, and if you fill out your profile, you can be compared to others your age. It was quite terrifying today for me - I was only in the 38th%tile or so overall. The program rates you on several parameters, so it's easy to see where you might need more practice.
After the 7 day free trial, signup is around $10 a month or less if you subscribe for a year or more. They add new puzzles all the time and the site is backed by research.
I'm hooked. I'll keep up for the next 7 days and if it continues to be as interesting, challenging, and fun as today was (I could feel my brain aching!), I'm going to sign up.
But for now, I am taking my aching body and mind for a rest.

1 comment:

Travelogue for the Universe said...

I love my Wii. I do some yoga but none of the one legged stuff.I like the balance stuff, tennis and reward myself with cow racing and pinball.Just got the resort.Tennis puts me in a sweat and even 6 minutes of yoga makes me breathe better already.Mary Gerdt