Artigo GMT - Play Your Way To A Fitter Brain

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Play Your Way To A Fitter Brain
by: Lily Yates

It's not just physical health that individuals need to consider when trying to stay fit and lead a healthy life, keeping your brain active is just as important. Studies have shown that individuals who continue to learn and challenge their brain throughout their life are less likely to develop neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

One way to help keep your brain active and challenge yourself is to participate in a table top game. Board games are said to be an ideal way to give your  brain a workout and studies have shown that those who regularly participate in playing games (about five times a week) are helping to reduce their risk of neurological disorders and improve their overall mental health. According to the Alzheimer's Association, research has found that an active brain can “increase it's vitality” and build new brain cells and connections.

Reaching All Levels Of The Brain

In addition to decreasing the risk of neurological disorders, board games can also help to improve aspects such as:

  • Social Skills
  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving
  • Strategy
  • Critical thinking
  • Vocabulary
  • Response time
  • Concentration levels

Board games are also popular with people wanting to relieve stress, gain mental balance and relax, not to mention the satisfaction one experiences from winning!

Variety Is The Winning Card

The relaxing and fun environment that playing games brings means that it doesn't even have to feel like a workout. However by playing a variety of different games people can help to keep mental exercise fun and interesting, thus making them more likely to want to play a game everyday. It won't be hard to find a new game that interests everyone involved, there is a such a vast variety available that it would be very hard to have played them all!

Although all board games provide excellent benefits it has been said that due to their multi tasking nature of building, recruiting and attacking, strategy based games are a great choice of game style for those looking to keep their brain active and healthy. A study has shown that if played regularly strategy games can enlarge the Cortex, this makes the brain's decision making mechanism much more efficient, boosting neurotransmitters communication speed. The brains decision making ability is boosted by up to 25% in relation to a person who doesn't participate in strategy based games.

Fun For All Ages

Board games are rich in learning opportunities and because of this they aren't just beneficial for adults. They are also a great way to help children develop new skills and exercise their brain. The nature of a board game means that it don't even need to be overly academic to be educational, they all provide some form of learning experience in one way or another. Because of this playing games is a great way to inject some fun and learning into education and help your children to learn vital skills such as:

  • Number and shape recognition
  • Counting
  • Letter recognition and reading
  • Visual perception and colour recognition
  • Eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity

Games will also help children to gain social skills and learn the importance of taking turns, communicating and sharing; as well of course as being given a chance to show their competitive side!

Make Game Time Family Time

Busy schedules and longer working hours means that many are finding it hard to fit in all important family time. Having a regular family board game session is a great way to spend time together and a brilliant way to bond. Parents may find that their children much prefer sitting in front of a video game to playing a traditional style board game, however it is now possible to purchase digital versions of games, for example Twilight Struggle which is available in a digital format for PC. Parents may find that their children are more interested in these versions, which also have positive health benefits. In fact studies have shown that video based games can improve areas such as; motor skills, problem solving, critical thinking, and even help neuroplasticity- which is the brain's ability to create new nerve cell connections. By playing a mixture of traditional style games as well as digital versions it will help to encourage all family members to be involved in improving mental fitness.

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Excelente artigo. Curiosamente li há pouco um artigo no Público que falava de um estudo científico sobre os benefícios dos jogos de vídeo na saúde mental e veio-me logo à ideia que os jogos de tabuleiro deveriam trazer os mesmos benefícios com os acréscimos relacionados com a socialização econvívio que implicam...