Can freestyle rap music and improvisational games improve your confidence, creativity and mindfulness, and help you feel less socially isolated? And can the improv help stem cognitive decline, a major concern for many as they get older?
So you’re probably not going to join an improv troupe later in life, much less become an accomplished rapper. But a key part of living well and nurturing your brain health as you age is to stay mentally engaged and relaxed through what AARP Research refers to as meaningful play.
Studies show that improvisational gameplay can train the brain to open up.
“A brain that plays games 20 minutes a day stays healthy for a lot longer,” said Anthony Veneziale, cochief executive officer and founder of Freestyle+. His Flowzone gaming engine is designed to help people flex their mental muscles through the science of improv and music.
Veneziale, himself an improvisational freestyle rapper and Tony Award winning entertainer, was speaking about brain health and the role these games can play during a panel at the CES tech trade show in Las Vegas this week along with AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins, actor Utkarsh Ambudkar from the CBS sitcom Ghosts, and moderator Guy Raz of NPR.
“How do we keep people mentally alert and active?” Jenkins asked. About 12,000 people a day are turning 65 in the U.S., and 85 percent of older adults want to age in their own homes.
Freestyle+, part of AARP’s AgeTech Collaborative of startups, is attempting to answer that by developing a gaming engine that first learns how you play and then tries to serve up games that fit your profile. Then, through gameplay, you’re pushed to meet goals and, in some instances, combat fears.
Some 900 games exist in the improv community, and Freestyle+ is in the process of digitizing core elements from many of them, Veneziale says.
To learn more about how you can boost your brain with improv for a longer, happier life, from AARP, CLICK HERE.