Contrary to what many of us believe, new research from the Global Council on Brain Health has revealed that doing puzzles and mind games isn’t the most effective way to keep our brains sharp.

More than one in three people surveyed by Age UK said that doing puzzles and mind games was likely to be the best way to keep our brains healthy as we get older.

But now the Global Council on Brain Health, working with Age UK and the AARP, have said in new research that the long-term benefits of these ‘brain games’ are little to non-existent.

Their research showed that if we play a brain game several times, despite getting better at the game, there is little improvement in our thinking abilities.

The Global Council on Brain Health have revealed which mentally engaging activities do have a link to keeping our brains sharp. Examples include learning a language, practicing tai-chi, taking photography classes and investigating your genealogy. Physical activities that involve mental engagement (eg. dancing or tennis) are also important.

It’s especially important to include social engagement as part of these activities, such as volunteering and mentoring others in your community.

Age UK's Chief Scientist, James Goodwin said: "Even though it's never too late to learn something new, the overwhelming message from the report is that you shouldn't wait until later life to try to maintain your brain health. The younger you start challenging yourself with mentally stimulating activities, the better your brain function will be as you age."