May 9, 2022
NBC News4
Doreen Gentzler

People of all ages have now made the game Wordle part of their daily routines, but is figuring out that mystery five letter word just a fun craze? Or is it also an activity that’s beneficial for your brain?

Neuroscientist and Brain HQ CEO Henry Mahncke told News4 Wordle might not be doing much to improve your cognitive function in the long run.

“I play, my wife plays, my daughter plays. Like you, we all kind of got sucked into it one by one,” Mahncke said.

His company Brain HQ studies how the brain rewires itself through learning and training.

“Your brain’s not really being pushed to get faster at all,” Mahncke said of Wordle. “Most people are using tips and tricks to get better at it.”

He said Wordle is similar to crossword puzzles because it’s not doing anything to improve your speed or cognitive function.

“If there’s one thing the brain really craves, you know, it craves novelty. It craves change. It craves learning in fact,” Mahncke said.

He said as soon as you start using tips and strategies to solve the puzzle, you have taken away the potential benefits on your brain.

For long-term brain health, Mahncke recommends practicing better sleep habits and eating more balanced meals instead.

“Physical exercise, and eating right, and sleep, and social contact, and new learning –– that keeps us fast in order to maintain that brain as a healthy organ,” Mahncke said.

He said the key is to keep challenging yourself in new ways.

“We’re more and more are seeing the brain as an organ of the body that needs to be taken care of just the same way we take care of our heart with physical exercise and diet,” Mahncke said.

When it comes to brain health, Mahncke said it’s never too late to learn something new and rewire your brain with healthy habits and activities.

“Try all kinds of new games that might stimulate your brain, go out for walks and new places, explore new routes to go to your work and your favorite restaurants. All these things drive learning in that way,” he said.