8 AMAZING Benefits of Everyday Play — Have Fun for Your Health
(AscendHealthy.com) – When it comes to our health, many of us don’t think about what we can do to try to keep our brains sharp and active. Playing a daily puzzle game can stimulate our minds and keep us busy at the same time. Check out these 8 unexpected benefits you can gain from playing daily puzzle games.
1. Improved Cognitive Function
A study from Nanyang Technological University says that playing puzzle games improves mental flexibility (or situational adaptability) and increases executive function (the ability to make everyday decisions when the environment changes, which is sometimes called “thinking on your feet”).
The games in the study were played for as little as an hour per day. Researchers found that certain games helped participants switch between tasks, adapt to new situations, and block out distractions better than those who did not play the games or those who played different games.
2. Improved Memory
There are several different puzzle types that help improve memory. These include crossword puzzles, Sudoku, picture jigsaw puzzles, Rebus puzzles, and other word or math-based puzzles. These puzzle styles activate the pathways in the brain that help improve cognitive function and memory.
3. Increased Socialization
Another benefit of online puzzle games is that they afford the opportunity for socialization. If you play with other people, you’re more likely to keep in touch with them than if you play a puzzle game alone. Most online games, such as Words With Friends, have a chat feature that allows you to converse about life while you take turns at the game. The game might provide a platform for you to play and visit with each other more often.
4. Improved Vocabulary
Playing word puzzle games, like crossword puzzles, word finds, word scrambles, or other word-based puzzle games can help improve your vocabulary by teaching you new words and meanings. Playing word games can also be one of the best vocabulary builders for learning or improving another language.
5. Improved Math Skills
Whether you love it or hate it, math can be fun in a puzzle game! Playing regularly improves and strengthens those skills. You could try challenging yourself with a daily math-based puzzle game like Crossmaths or Sudoku.
6. Stress Relief
Puzzle games help release stress and tension during the day. You may find yourself more relaxed, less stressed, and more ready to take on your other responsibilities after playing puzzle games for a few minutes in between tasks.
7. Improved Mental Health
Whether it’s because of socializing with other people while playing, taking your mind off your problems for an hour per day, or any number of other reasons, puzzle games may help improve mental health for many people. In fact, East Carolina University performed a study that concluded that playing popular puzzle games for half an hour per day helped alleviate clinical depression and anxiety. There were long-term effects, too; for up to a month later, the benefits rivaled the effectiveness of the medication.
8. Slowed or Prevented Dementia
Puzzle games may help deter dementia in several ways. By keeping participants more active socially and mentally, pathways in the brain may be triggered to remain more active and flexible. For some people, playing 30 minutes to an hour per day may completely prevent dementia, while it may slow the progression of dementia for others.
Try to make time for playing games whenever you have a spare moment or need to destress. The benefits are promising, and you can have some fun, too. There’s only a game to lose, potentially, but a whole lot more you might gain.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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