It is a curiously puzzling fact that something so fun can actually improve our brain health. Recently John and I discovered the Dowdle beautiful puzzles at Costco.com. Sadly, they are now almost all sold out. Amazon still has them all.
Our First Puzzle Purchases
Considering my mom (almost 101) and our smaller grandchildren, we began with the 100 count puzzles. There were only a few left at our Costco. My mom loved getting her first puzzle. She is now on her second. Of course, she has had help from me when I visit and from her wonderful caregiver, Maria at Casa Maria Communities.
Longer Life Spans
Last month the Fabufit posts focused on Living Long and Strong. Interestingly, the Costco magazine we receive had an article on the Dowdle company. The Costco editor added a Puzzling Fact at the end of the article: Studies show that those who do jigsaw puzzles have not only longer life spans but also a lower chance of developing memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s. The editor refers to the 2012 Study from the Archives of Neurology. See more below.
This new research emphasizes secret #4 of the Centenarians I have studied: Taking Extraordinary Measures to Maintain Physical Strength and THINKING ABILITY.
Below is quoted from SouthMountain Memory Care with my headings and pictures added:
Jigsaw Puzzling is Resurging in Popularity
“There’s a quiet movement going on in this country, and it doesn’t involve apps, data or the latest fad. Following the lead of vinyl record albums, coloring books, and traditional board games, jigsaw puzzles are seeing a resurgence in popularity. Perhaps, because it’s an opportunity to unplug and give yourself and family an escape from the information overload that is buzzing through the very fabric of our lives 24/7.” SMMC
A Retro Revolution
“Wrestling yourself away from screens, devices, even the television can be a nearly impossible task, but it’s vital to our mental and even physical health. A jigsaw puzzle requires your full attention and therein lies the magic. Everyone from tweens and teens to millennials and over-worked parents to seniors is returning to this quiet pastime of childhood. Call it a retro revolution.” ~ SMMC
Benefits that May Surprise You
“Here are some benefits of puzzling that might surprise you:
Exercise for the Left and Right Sides of Your Brain
Jigsaw puzzles exercise the left and right sides of your brain at once. Your left brain is logical and works in a linear fashion, while your right brain is creative and intuitive. When you’re doing a jigsaw puzzle, both sides are engaged, according to Sanesco Health, an industry leader in neurotransmitter testing. Think of it as a mental workout that improves your problem-solving skills and attention span. It’s no surprise that Bill Gates admits to being an avid puzzler.
Jigsaw puzzles improve your short-term memory
Can’t remember what you had for lunch yesterday? Jigsaw puzzles can help with that. Doing a puzzle reinforces connections between brain cells, improves mental speed, and is an especially effective way to improve short-term memory.
Jigsaw puzzles improve your visual-spatial reasoning
When you do a jigsaw puzzle, you need to look at individual pieces and figure out where they’ll fit into the big picture. If you do it regularly, you’ll improve visual-spatial reasoning, which helps with driving a car, packing, using a map, learning and following dance moves, and a whole host of other things.
Jigsaw puzzles are a great meditation tool and stress reliever
Focusing on one image for a long period of time, without extraneous thoughts entering your mind, is in itself meditation. By doing a jigsaw puzzle, you’re getting the same benefits as if you meditated. The stress of everyday life evaporates and is replaced by a sense of peace and tranquility that lowers your blood pressure and heart rate.
Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to connect with family.
Starting a jigsaw puzzle and keeping it on a table in your living room or kitchen is an invitation for the whole family to participate, whenever they have a few minutes to sit down and focus. It’s a tactic that parents of teens can use for starting a conversation while working toward a shared goal.
Conversely, jigsaw puzzles are great for some needed alone time.
Puzzling is perfect for people who want a quiet, solo break from the bustle and unrelenting stimulus of today’s digital lifestyle.” ~SMMC
Puzzling Stimulates the Brain
“Studies show that people who do jigsaw and crossword puzzles have longer life spans with less chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss or dementia. Puzzling stimulates the brain and actually wards off the plaque that is the marker of Alzheimer’s, according to a recent study published in the Archives of Neurology. The study compared brain scans of 75-year-olds to 25-year-olds. The elderly people who did puzzles regularly had brain scans comparable to the 25-year-olds.” ~SMMC
This Puzzling Fact Can’t Be Ignored
We may have a secret here that can add years of brain excellence to our lives. Onward to 120. If Jesus tarries, let’s live long and strong.
And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh:
yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years. Genesis 6:3 KJV