Discover how word games can help keep your mind sharp.
If you love word games like Scrabble, crosswords, and word searches, you’re in luck — they love you right back! In addition to being a fun way to pass the time, the benefits of word games include plenty of great perks for your brain.
Here are five brain benefits of word games:
- Fine-tunes focus and attention
- Improves your short-term memory
- Strengthens your vocabulary
- Slows the onset of cognitive decline
- Gives you a healthy dose of dopamine
Let’s explore these benefits of word games in more detail!
Fine-tunes focus and attention
When you’re concentrating on a word game and trying to brainstorm that perfect solution, you’re helping your brain get used to focused, distraction-free activity. This is especially helpful if you sometimes find it hard to focus on tasks without your mind wandering to something else. When you’re playing a word game, make a habit of putting away other distractions like smartphones or tablets. You could turn on some classical music for a little extra brain stimulation while you’re at it!
Improves your short-term memory
Word games can help build up your “cognitive reserve,” which enables you to think quickly and retain short-term memory. Researchers emphasize that physical activity is also crucial for memory since exercise increases blood flow to the hippocampus. To get moving, check out these cardio exercises for seniors!
Strengthens your vocabulary
You know that feeling of having a word on the tip of your tongue? Regularly playing games like Scrabble can help you keep thousands of words at the forefront of your brain and strengthen your vocabulary. Plus, if an opponent plays a word you aren’t familiar with, you can ask them what it means or look it up yourself and add some brand-new words to your arsenal!
Slows the onset of cognitive decline
Keeping your brain and your body active as you age is one of the best ways to slow cognitive decline and reduce your risk of dementia. The Alzheimer’s Society recommends a variety of activities like getting aerobic exercise, eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol, and exercising your mind to protect your cognitive health. That mental exercise can come in the form of word games, puzzles, online courses, learning a language, reading a good book, and more. If it challenges your mind, chances are it’s good for you!
Gives you a healthy dose of dopamine
Winning feels good, especially if you had to work hard to accomplish it. When you finally remember the name of that author to fit in the crossword clue, nab the triple-word-score tile with a complicated word in Scrabble, or find that backward diagonal word in your word search grid, you’ll probably get a quick mood boost! Especially in retirement, keeping your brain engaged is important for your mental and emotional health.
Want more information on fun ways to keep your brain and body active? Check out the CapTel blog!