Are Crosswords Good For Old People
But when it comes to senior people, the daily crossword puzzle is a game-changer. The benefits of solving puzzles for the elderly are innumerable, including enhanced memory, better cognitive skills, improved concentration, and much more. It can even reduce the chances of dementia and Alzheimers in the elderly.
Puzzle Time The Brain Benefits Of Solving
Sometimes, we need to all step away from our screens and devices to unplug and work out . . . OK, dont leave just yet! I mean a mental workout! Various types of puzzles and brain teasers are great ways to exercise your noodle or fun ways to pass the time. I for one am a huge fan of puzzles. Jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, riddles you name it, I love them. And, with the cold weather, the darker days, and the pandemic, I have been cranking them out! Luckily, there are lots of benefits to puzzling and, plus, the aha moment never gets old.
Solving puzzles helps our brain engage in a stimulating cognitive activity. This means the more you work different parts of your brain, the sharper your brain becomes! January 29 is National Puzzle Day, so join us as we crack the code on how puzzles can benefit your brain to get you ready to celebrate!
Puzzles activate the whole brain. When you work on a puzzle, you are exercising the left and right sides of your brain at once. The left side of your brain controls analytics and logic while the right side uses creative and holistic thinking. Whether youre working on a jigsaw puzzle or trying to get out of an escape room, each side of your brain is working, but are both tackling the situation from a different angle to get your final result!
They Provide A Welcome Escape
Jigsaw puzzles offer a way to break up the monotony of the day in quarantine. They also take us back to simpler times before the pandemic.
Puzzles are a throwback, said Vilensky. Like other popular quarantine activities , puzzles can help us connect to the past and offer a sense of familiarity that is reassuring during new and chaotic times.
Kaeppeler noted that certain types of puzzle images are calming and appealing to customers because they provide a sense of escape.
For example, images that have a first-person view of a setting provide a calm environment for someone to focus and relax, he said. Travel-related puzzles can also offer a feeling of a getaway.
Even if travel themes or cozy settings arent for you, there are countless other image options.
I often get asked by people what puzzle they should buy, and my main rule of thumb is to just look for an image that makes you happy, said Kavett. I like bright colors, so many of the puzzles I do are bright gradients or very highly saturated illustrations, but there is a perfect puzzle out there for everyone.
You May Like: Where Is The Corpus Callosum Located In The Brain
Keeping Your Brain Active: 10 Tips For Improving Your Brain
The other day I was listening to an interview on National Public Radio with Dean Oshler who has just written a book called From Square One: A Meditation, with Digressions, on Crosswords. During the interview I was surprised to hear Mr. Oshler challenge the widely held belief that regularly doing crossword puzzles is good for your brain fitness and can help stave off Alzheimer’s disease. Oshler’s problem with crossword solving is twofold: first, he believes the clinical data showing an advantage for puzzlers is both weak and only observational ; second, we need variety in our mental exercise
I don’t think Oshler and Wilson are that far apart actually. Oshler is just emphasizing variety in mental exercise. He went on to say that perhaps one should take up something like crosswords for a year or so and then do something completely different like learning a foreign language. His concern is to avoid falling into a mental rut; always doing the same type of crossword puzzles edited by the same person, over and over again. New and varied mental challenges are key in his opinion.
“1.;;;;; Take up video-gaming. Action video games improve eye-hand coordination, improve spatial visualization skills, and increase the number of things that you can visually attend to simultaneously.
2.;;;;; Strengthen your memory. Memory is our most vital mental faculty. Strengthening memory is an important component in lessening the odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Online Jigsaw Puzzles Increases Your Capacity To Focus
Your brains capacity to focus on a single activity improves when you allow yourself to focus on one objective and one component at a time. Being able to focus on one subject, especially in this modern world, is not simple. Focusing on a puzzle may help you focus more on studies, work responsibilities, and even hobbies! If youre having trouble focusing on one activity at a time, pick up a puzzle and practice being attentive to one piece at a time.
Don’t Miss: Can You Reach Your Brain Through Your Nose
A Cognitive Ability Boost
Jigsaw puzzles, no matter the piece-count, challenge your intellectual processes. You exercise your mind as you study the image and its details. As you recognise shapes, colours and patterns, and process them as part of the larger picture, your problem-solving skills are tested.
In a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, puzzles also work your visual-spatial skills as you work through the different pieces, understanding what they are, and how they fit into the rest of the puzzle. Those visual-spatial skills can be a big help with things like driving, packing, and navigating.
They Improve Visual And Spatial Reasoning
You need to be able to look at individual parts of a jigsaw puzzle, or available spaces in a crossword puzzle and figure out how to fit the pieces or words into their space. If done regularly, according to USA Today, this will improve your visual and spatial reasoning skills and that translates into being a better driver and can make you a Tetris-like packer .
Read Also: What Do The Ventricles Of The Brain Do
Theres A Clear Purpose
Puzzles can provide a clear goal and sense of purpose in this time when people feel aimless and unable to map out future plans.
Right now in quarantine, so many of us are performing meaningless tasks, like showering, just to feel like we did something, Maenpaa said. Sure, its doing something; but its not productive in the sense that it gets you towards any larger goals other than not offending those in your close proximity. But doing a puzzle feels like working towards something bigger than your to-do list, which is especially alluring when meaningful action in quarantine can be hard to come by.
There are very few clear answers in the chaos of life particularly in 2020. But jigsaw puzzles are all about clear solutions, which can be very soothing.
In this uncertain time, weve heard from customers that seeing a pile of pieces come together as a finished puzzle is extremely satisfying, said Thomas Kaeppeler, president of Ravensburger North America.
Patrick K. Porter, creator of BrainTap Technologies, noted that theres a neuroscience component to this phenomenon. It also helps explain why some people feel like they cant stop working on a puzzle until its finished.
Are Puzzles Good For The Brain
Jigsaw puzzles are on the rise yet again, and the demand is astonishing. Its a great way to spend quality time with your family, bond with your children or parents, while also keeping your brain in good shape.
But what other not so obvious benefits does doing a jigsaw puzzle have? Lets find these benefits out!
Read Also: Does Loss Of Hearing Affect Memory
Jigsaw Puzzles Promote Social Bonding
Lets get wild with our friends and do some puzzles!;
That may or may not be something youd say very often, but puzzles offer a great opportunity to bond with your partner, friends, or family .;
As a Yale study showed, jigsaw puzzles promote collaboration and cooperation. Instead of zoning out and watching Selling Sunset all night together, why not whip out a puzzle once in a while? Theyll encourage you to work together to solve a problem, promoting a sense of teamwork that you dont quite get from Netflix.;
Not to mention, cooperation is a primary ingredient of happy romantic relationships. Puzzle and chill, anyone?
If you live in a household with different generations, theyre also great for bringing them all together. Gramma, TikTok-addicted younger sister? Theyll all get a kick out of that sweet, sweet satisfaction that comes from filling in a missing piece.;
On the other hand, puzzles are also excellent for bonding with yourself. You can use them to to set personal goals, casually tinker away with when you need a break, or to simply enjoy your own company.;
Puzzles are all about self love, baby!
It Will Help In Decreasing The Stress Levels:
Another very important point associated with the solving of puzzles is that people will be having a lot of relaxation and in this way, they will be reducing their stress levels because this is directly linked with increasing self-confidence, relieving the stress, lowering down the BP and they will also have the best possible ability to make deeper connections with themselves. The whole process of solving the puzzles comes with different kinds of cognitive and physical benefits for the children.
Also Check: What Does The Front Of The Brain Control
What Are Brain Exercises
A brain exercise is any activity that engages your cognitive skills. Online brain games are popular and offer a wide variety of imaginative exercises designed to challenge your memory, focus and problem-solving skills, but tactile games like bingo and jigsaw puzzles and hobbies like model building also stimulate important types of memory skills. The key is that they must be difficult, but not too difficult.
Its important to engage in mentally challenging activities that allow you to constantly learn and get better, says Denise Park, Ph.D., professor and director of research at the Center for Vital Longevity in the School of Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas in Dallas.
Park conducted a study where different groups of older adults learned digital photography and quiltingnew activities that required complex planning and learningand found that, over a period of 15 hours a week for three months, these adults enhanced their memories.
Its important to have the optimal amount of challenge to maintain a healthy mind, says Park. If theres too much, you will get stressed out and stress can be damaging to the cognitive system. But if theres too little, there may not be any gain. Adding novel behaviors that you never performed before helps build new neural circuits that will be built to handle that challenge.
Study By Frontiers In Aging Neuroscience
A;2018 study;sheds a lot of light on whats happening in the brain when youre piecing puzzles together. The study is interesting because it linked multiple benefits of puzzles together, finding that jigsaw puzzles may help:
- Recruit visuospatial cognitive abilities
- Protect against visuospatial cognitive aging
The researchers concluded that larger studies need to be conducted to determine the long-term benefits of puzzling on the brain. Interestingly, researchers from the study suggest that high puzzling of 9,100 connected pieces or more may also have cognitive benefits.
Also Check: How Does Heroin Affect The Brain
Benefits Of The Jigsaw Puzzle
1. Visual-Spatial Benefits
Puzzling can help improve spatial reasoning, allowing you to see the big picture when doing a puzzle.;
2. Mental Stimulation
Puzzles work both the right and left sides of the brain. When you engage these areas of the brain, you can benefit from intuitive thinking, logic improvements, a boost in creativity, and even cognitive function increases.
Focusing on puzzling helps you pay close attention to detail and to analyze situations more deeply. Youll learn how to spot differences in shapes, colors, and patterns.
4. Memory Improvement;
Mental speed and thought process improvement is achieved when solving puzzles. You have to remember where pieces go, their shapes, and where you remember seeing certain puzzle patterns.
Play An Online Brain Game
Luminosity, Cognifit, Sharpbrains, BrainHQ and others provide free brain games dailyand many more for people willing to pay for a subscriptionthat challenge memory, attention and concentration skills. Does playing these games lead to long-term cognition improvement? Its not known for certain, but they are engaging and fun. These word, number, speed, math, problem-solving and shape games often have time limits, which escalate the challenge, along with colorful graphics and cheerful bloops and bleeps .
Video games can be beneficial as well. Video games can be great, particularly because so many start out at an easy level and become more challenging with practice, and are essentially cognitive training, says Dr. Park.
Recommended Reading: Why Does The Right Side Of My Brain Hurt
Different Types Of Puzzles Stimulate Different Parts Of The Brain
In a sense, the vast array of puzzles spans all the cognitive skills, from spatial thinking to language and reasoning, says , professor of semiotics and anthropology at Victoria College, University of Toronto, and author of The Total Brain Workout: 450 Puzzles to Sharpen Your Mind, Improve Your Memory, and Keep Your Brain Fit.Though specific types of puzzles can be used to stimulate particular areas of the brain. He gives the examples of puzzles that deal with the faculty of languagelike riddles and acrosticsare likely to stimulate the language areas of the brain, while those that deal with some aspect of logical thinking, such as placing symbols in a particular way in a grid, are likely to stimulate logic-processing areas.
Start A Jigsaw Puzzle
Whether theyre easy or complicated, jigsaw puzzles tap into many visual-spatial working memory skillsseeing and remembering which pieces fit into similarly shaped spacessays Dr. Tan. To that end, a 2018 study in Frontiers of Aging Neuroscience showed that working on jigsaw puzzles engages multiple cognitive abilities.
Recommended Reading: Can An Eye Stroke Lead To A Brain Stroke
Take Time To Appreciate The Details
I need good lighting when I’m building a puzzle. Good lighting ensures I’m able to pick out the different color and detail nuances of the pieces. As with any problem, puzzle-doers are rewarded when they are observant and take time to appreciate the details. When I took time to observe that the color of red on the Silly Putty part of the puzzle was of a slightly different hue than that of the View Finder part, it was much easier to segregate the pieces and fit them together.;
Jigsaw Puzzles Improve Your Mood:
Jigsaw puzzles are good for the brain as they help in improving your mood. Solving a puzzle increases the production of dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is responsible to regulate your mood and optimism. This neurotransmitter also affects memory, learning, motivation, and concentration. Every time you do a puzzle and every time you put a single piece of the puzzle in the right place, dopamine gets released. This encourages you to continue your work and challenge yourself.
Recommended Reading: What Causes Paranoia In The Brain
Jigsaw Puzzle Reduces Your Stress Level:
Apart from improving our concentration, memory, mood, productivity, and problem-solving ability, jigsaw puzzles are also great at reducing stress levels. These puzzles help in making us feel relaxed.
When you are assembling jigsaw puzzles, your brains go from Beta or awake to a state of Alpha. The Alpha state is very similar to the state when we are dreaming. This shift of the minds consciousness has so many benefits, including your ability to make deeper connections, increasing self-confidence, relieving stress, and improving mood. This is also helpful in lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.
Jigsaw Puzzles Help Relieve Stress
Before COVID-19 hit, puzzles were already gaining in popularity. But now, with social distancing and increased stress from the pandemic, theyve exploded in popularity.;
Quiet methodical tasks like jigsaw puzzles are fantastic meditation tools and stress relievers. In our hyper-connected world, they offer a great way to unplug and create a sense of tranquility by allowing your brain to focus on one simple task at hand.;
The focus they require promotes a sense of mindfulness . Plus, youre literally rewarded for staying calm. Theres a sense of satisfaction when you fill in a piece after quiet concentration, which is; great positive feedback that helps encourage your meditative state.;
Susan Vandermorris, a clinical neuropsychologist at Torontos Baycrest Health Sciences, pointed to the stress-relieving benefits of jigsaw puzzles. If youre doing a puzzle, you are, by definition, disconnected and engaged in a task thats immersive, away from the interruptions and stresses of day-to-day life, she told Readers Digest. And that, of course, is good for your brain.
You May Like: Does The Brain Have Pain Receptors
Here Is Why Jigsaw Puzzles Are Good For Your Brain
Jigsaw puzzles are not just about fun, they are also beneficial for our brain, especially if you put them together well. In modern times, John Spilsbury invented jigsaw puzzles in 1767. Like jigsaw puzzles, there are other varieties of puzzles like crossword puzzles, Rubiks cube, and many more. However, in this article, we will talk about the benefits of jigsaw Puzzles for the brain. So, read below to know why are jigsaw puzzles good for your brain.
A Workout For Your Mind
Brain games stimulate different cognitive functions, such as executive function and processing speed, in older adults. And they can enhance your life in other ways. They can help your social life, particularly in group trainings that provide socialization that otherwise you wont have, says Dr. Tan. Similar to exercising in a workout class with a friend, the experience itself is enhanced by being with other people.
Recommended Reading: What Part Of The Brain Controls Eyesight