Games Make Your Mind Sharp

A Scrabble game board is photographed and playing the game makes your mind sharp.

Photograph by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels

Games Make Your Mind Sharp

Did you know that playing specific games can make your mind sharp? Keeping your brain active and solving problems benefits your mind’s health.

Sudoku keeps your mind sharp

Sudoku features a nine-by-nine grid of blank spaces and number-occupied spaces. The player must fill the empty squares with numbers one through nine but can not repeat numbers in each horizontal and vertical line. Also, within each three-by-three grid, you cannot repeat a number. The game allows your mind to think ahead before you write down another single-digit number. A 2019 research study examined cognitive function in adults 50 and over. The scientists found “a close relationship between frequency of number-puzzle use and the quality of cognitive function in adults aged 50 to 93 years old.” The game also can be made to accommodate younger children. For the young and young at heart, playing Sudoku can be fun and help stimulate your brain.

Scrabble strengthens your mind

The classic board game Scrabble was invented in 1933 and can certainly help keep your mind sharp. Two to four players draw seven-lettered tiles from a pouch of 100 tiles. Each player takes a turn spelling out a word using their tiles, collects points, and draws replacement lettered tiles for the letters used on each turn. The game continues until all letters have been drawn from the pouch and one player uses all of his or her letters. After adding up all the points for each player, the person with the most points wins. Researchers studied non-Scrabble players’ and expert Scrabble players’ abilities to rearrange jumbled letters to form English words. The scientists found that the Scrabble experts were better and faster at completing the challenge. Also, Scrabble experts activated a different part of their brains associated with working memory and visual perception than the other participants.

Puzzles sharpen your mind

Jigsaw puzzles and crossword puzzles can also be beneficial for brain health. Researchers have found that solving jigsaw puzzles can “help improve visual-spatial reasoning, short-term memory, and problem-solving skills”. Completing jigsaw puzzles fights off cognitive decline as well. Embarking into crossword puzzles further stimulates and improves your mind. One study looked at the relationship between crossword puzzle use and cognitive function. Researchers found that people who frequently worked on crossword puzzles were less likely to experience a decline in memory after being diagnosed with dementia. Another study examined previously published literature and found that performing mental exercises like crossword puzzles assists in preserving memory and cognitive function.

Chess can keep your mind sharp

The game of chess has been around for centuries, and its intricate playing style can also give your brain a boost. A recent study found experienced chess players are more likely to “remember and quickly recognize visual patterns.” Other scientists discovered that playing chess often can protect people from developing dementia.

Word games, number games, puzzles, and strategic board games are not merely fun to undertake, but evidence suggests some of them also benefit your brain, preserve its function, and keep it healthy.

If you found this article helpful, please read about avoiding common grammar and spelling mistakes.

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About Joey Hinojosa

Joey Hinojosa graduated with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and a master's degree in mass communications. He began working at Empower Brokerage in early 2022 and enjoys being creative in his writing, photography, videography, and other projects.

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