When was the last time you sat down and played a
word game? Any kind of the game including word puzzles, math puzzles, a
crossword puzzle or games like Scrabble?
Chances are, not in a while.
Unfortunately, the older and busier we get, the less time we make for downtime, or the simple enjoyments of games. Our culture seems to be more comfortable with turning on the television to relax than playing games that not only provide fun and enjoyment, but also stimulate the brain and may even help prevent memory loss and slow down the advancement of conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.
Word puzzles are found in a variety of games, including anacrostics, crypto quizzes, cryptograms, fill in puzzles, ladder grams, and many more. Such games not only provide hours of entertainment, but also literally exercise the brain.
The brain is one of the most important organs in your body. Like other muscles of the body that must be exercised or they lose their strength, endurance, and stamina, the brain also needs to be exercised for the same purposes. Your brain is filled with neural pathways that must be engaged in order to maintain optimal function.
Studies have determined that actively engaging the brain in puzzle games such as word puzzles, crossword puzzles, math games like Sudoku and others offer numerous benefits to adults and the elderly throughout the aging process. Brain activity stimulates brain cell development and growth. Basically, the more active your brain, the more brain cells are produced.
Puzzles and quizzes, logic problems, and any type of game or puzzle that causes you to think is beneficial for engaging the mind, stimulating neural pathways and brain cell activity. How can such games actually help with memory and reasoning?
The brain is one of the most active organs in the body. It's the center of all bodily functions as well as speech, recognition, memory, problem solving, and cognitive development. It doesn't matter whether you're attempting the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle, playing hangman, or learning a new language, a new craft, or activity. Activity stimulates the brain, keeping it functioning at optimal levels.
Puzzles and games can stimulate all areas of the brain. For example, the forward or frontal lobe of your brain is responsible for creative thought, writing, intellect, and judgment. Playing puzzles and word games stimulates this frontal area of the brain. From determining the meaning of words, to word association to memory for not only physical activity but habits are all performed in the frontal lobe, or the area of the brain behind the forehead.
The frontal lobe of the brain is also responsible for tasks that involve more complex reasoning or interpretation skills called sequencing. Exercising this area of the brain increases spontaneity and thinking processes and may also help to lengthen attention span and increase your ability to solve problems.
The area found at the back and top of your head, called the parietal lobe, is responsible for enabling you to understand specific concepts and integrates your senses; touch, feel, visual, taste, etc., to interpret and determine a specific resolution. This area of the brain also helps you to read and determine certain words for writing and speech processes. Math games are especially beneficial for this area of the brain.
The rear portion of the brain known as the occipital lobe is responsible for vision as well as increasing your ability to recognize words and objects and is especially beneficial for reading and writing. The temporal lobes, located on each side of your head above the ears, are mainly responsible for memory acquisition. Being able to differentiate or categorize objects is performed in this area of the brain.
As you can see, stimulating different areas of the brain through enjoyable activities such as puzzles have more of an impact than many people realize. Seniors and caregivers should be encouraged to play games in order to maintain optimal brain function.