Puzzles and Games Are Fun, But Are They Good for Your Brain Too? 

As a kid, nothing was more fun than a marathon game of Monopoly with your friends. But as an adult, playing games and completing puzzles can provide more than a good time. They can actually help to preserve and enhance your brain. Want to know more about how games are good for your health? Then keep reading.

How Games Help Your Brain

It’s no surprise that the stress relief you get from games and puzzles can help your health. Too much stress leads to anxiety, mental health issues, and other chronic problems. Some research even suggests that high levels of stress in middle age can lead to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s in later years. Stress damages the connections in the brain responsible for memory and cognition, which leads to severe problems in seniors. Recent studies have also shown that adults who engage in puzzle and game play have increased memory retention and cognitive function. This also means that these adults may be less susceptible to conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s. While games may not prevent these issues for everyone, they can certainly delay the onset or severity of these conditions for most people.

Memory Boosting Games

Since dementia and Alzheimer’s are conditions that deplete memories, it may be helpful for adults to incorporate games that enhance recall ability. For seniors, certain memory exercises may work better than others. Online brain training software from companies that have the research to back up their claims can be extremely helpful in building cognitive integrity and enhancing memory. Brain HQ has shown a high level of promise for helping older adults boost their brains. But adults of all ages can enjoy fun, memory-enhancing games by themselves or with others. Crosswords and Sudoku puzzles are extremely supportive of memory systems, and they are a fun way to pass the time in waiting rooms, airports, and long lines. Many newspapers still contain these brain games, but you can also download puzzle apps for your smartphone.

Other Brain-Boosting Activities to Try

If puzzles and games are not your things, there are still ways you can help protect your brain. Stimulating your mind can be as simple as changing up your regular routine to break your brain out of boredom. Opt to use your opposite hand for an hour or so for a simple way to challenge your cognition. If you spend some time alone, try having a discussion with yourself about what you plan to eat or tasks you need to complete. Be really descriptive and detailed as you vocalize your thoughts. Writing is another effective way to train your brain. Keeping a journal helps boost memory and comprehension in addition to a whole slew of other benefits. Writing your worries on paper instead of keeping them in your head can also reduce stress and make you more mindful, both of which are powerful tools in preventing early-onset dementia.

Additional Steps to Take to Preserve Your Brain

Puzzles, games, and cognitive activities are all instrumental in preserving your brain function. However, to help fight off the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia, you will need to commit to other healthy habits too. First off, fitness is imperative in preserving your overall health as you age. Exercise benefits your body by helping you retain muscles and flexibility, but it can also ward off dementia in the process. One study found that women with more stamina during exercise had up to an 88 percent reduced risk of developing dementia. Another study points to a link between your diet and dementia and Alzheimer’s risks. Adults who stick to a Mediterranean diet may have a substantially reduced risk of developing either of these conditions. Since these diets are centered on lean proteins, veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats, you may also see other health benefits as well. 

Kent Elliott