Carol Vorderman's Mind Aerobics

Wouldn't it be great if by playing a tennis game on your mobile phone, you became fitter and actually better at tennis in the real world? Or, by completing Project Gotham Racing, you'd develop the skills to supplant old Bushy Eyebrows Alonso at MacLaren?

It's a shame that in reality games can only develop your hand-eye coordination when it comes to physical prowess; we have to be content to give our brains rather than our biceps a work out.

Still, if you are going to mentally limber up on your phone, who better to take you through it than the lovely Carol Vorderman? And it's a good job she's on hand for Mind Aerobics because otherwise you could quickly despatch it as just another cash-in on the brain training phenomenon.

So, what's Carol going to ask you to do? Um, she's going to ask you to complete various exercises to test your memory, mathematics and visual recognition skills in an effort to sharpen your cerebellum. In other words, train your brain. Darn!

As is usual in these games, you create a profile and embark on a series of daily exercises for your brain. With five tests in each daily session, each of which is designed to work your mind in a different manner, it's intended that you'll get a little bit better every day as your mental powers increase.

And, if the scores that are generated are anything to go by, successfully completing the exercises will achieve this desired rise in IQ.

The speed with which you complete the exercises and the percentage that you get correct are turned into a BFI – Brain Fitness Index. The BFI, as explained by our hostess, is a measure of your mental fitness. So by indulging in a spot of Carol Vorderman's Mind Aerobics every day (the five tests take about ten minutes to complete in total), it's the equivalent of taking your brain jogging interspersed with a few press-ups.

Ranging from 1 to 100, the average person has a BFI of between 25 and 35, which means there's a lot of room for improvement. And improve you will, but only if you've got patience and determination.

Like any other exercise, you've got to commit to Carol Vorderman's Mind Aerobics on a (relatively) long-term basis to get the most from it. It's not an entertaining game to play, by any stretch of the imagination, but Carol's presence does stop it all feeling like a home schooling session.

But it's not fun – if you want something that'll bring a smile to your face and help you unwind, go elsewhere. Of the current generation of brain trainers on phones, only Brain Challenge has managed to make the daily grind something you'll actively want to go through.

In Mind Aerobics' case, there's a slight over-dependence on the speed of your answering, something that anyone with fat fingers, a small keypad or arthritis is going to curse, which saps the fun from proceedings. Additionally, the tests that you've got to complete aren't properly explained the first time you encounter them, either, resulting in a falsely low score when you begin. (At least that's our story and we're sticking to it.)

Still, the ever-perky Carol is just around the corner with her encouraging manner, and it's surprising just how much character it gives Mind Aerobics – enough to make it worth considering.

Talk about strength of personality. If only she could shoehorn a way of improving that into a mobile phone training game…

Carol Vorderman's Mind Aerobics

Strangely reassuring in the way it makes you feel, it's a perfectly pleasant way of boosting your brain power