How Board Games Can Help To Prevent Cognitive Decline [Sponsored]

For a long time now board games, cards, and other analog games have been considered as the perfect thing to teach and learn through play. Many psychologists and teaching professionals highlight their influence on children’s development. But it turns out that they may have even more benefits. According to a recent study published by researchers from the University of Edinburgh, non-digital games don’t only help children develop better, but they can prevent elderly people from experiencing cognitive decline. Wondering while doing crosswords, learning words and word unscramblers for scrabble games or card games - it can all contribute to keeping your mind quick and sharp for longer.

Life-long Study

Authors Drew Altschul from the School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences, and professor Ian Deary, the director of the Edinburgh Lothian Birth Cohorts, gathered a study group of 1,091 people who were all assessed when they were 11 years old - they were part of the Lothian Birth Control 1936 study as people born in 1936 who took part in the Scottish Mental Survey of 1947 at the age of 11 years old. Researchers tested their memory, problem-solving skills, thinking speed, and general conditions of their minds.

They started when the participants were 70 and repeated the tests every three years until they turned 79 using 14 standardized cognitive tests, while also asking how much time they spent on playing cards, chess, board games, bingo, crosswords, etc (participants could answer with “every day or about every day,” “several times a week,” “several times a month,” “several times a year,” or “less than once a year/never.”) Their social backgrounds, education, sex, any health issues and lifestyles were also part of the assessment and taken into consideration while analyzing the results.

The conclusion was that those who played more games were generally better than those who didn’t.

Non-digital games can help people keep their Cognitive Abilities

Researchers have been working with Lothian Birth Cohorts since 1999 with the purpose of finding out what makes our cognitive abilities decline and how we can prevent it. They wanted to understand if there are things that influence our mental abilities, what causes the recession that comes with old age, and if there are any ways to stop or at least delay it. They concluded that those people who were playing more games in their later years have actually experienced less decline in their thinking speed and memory function than those who didn’t play or played rarely.

People have been talking about the benefits of playing analog games for some time now, but to this day, there were none scientific evidence to prove the theory. It turns out that you can improve your overall cognitive well-being with regular stimulation of your brain. There were people who only just started playing games when the study had begun, and there was actually an improvement in their mental abilities; even when the decline had already begun, it significantly slowed down when they started stimulating their brains.

Improving the Future

The study will help people prepare for the future. They will know what kind of activities they should introduce into their lives to make them better and to avoid situations when they become dependent on others simply because their brains are not working as they should anymore.

Now the researchers are working to discover more details, like which games help us better than others, and which activities are more stimulating to our brains. They want to create the most beneficial plan for people to follow and slow down their cognitive decline. Of course, cards, chess or board games need to be combined with a generally healthy lifestyle - not drinking excess alcohol, exercise and the right diet.

With this knowledge, people will be able to adjust their daily activities and lifestyle to make sure that they stay mentally active. With quicker and sharper brains even in older age, they will become more independent and simply satisfied with their lives as getting older and losing cognitive abilities can be extremely frustrating.

Start at the very Beginning

It has already been proven that playing board games, cards or chess can actually help children develop better in a significant way and in many various aspects. That’s why it’s important to get a liking and make a habit of these activities so that we can pass it on to our children. It’s the perfect way to teach them useful or even necessary skills through fun. It helps with vital social skills as it teaches communication and cooperation, it can improve concentration and analytical thinking, and it will certainly help you bond.

Those who play games when they’re younger are more likely to continue to do it in older age which can improve their cognitive abilities and keep their minds sharp in the long-term.

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