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Classic Brain Booster

Classic Brain Booster

In a world of Sudoku and weekend national newspaper crossword puzzles, the lowly jigsaw puzzle may seem to be mere childís play.† If you think this, get your hands on a good 500 piecer, and you are in for a spanking!† Jigsaw puzzles can be mind-bendingly tough, providing your brain (and your patience) with an extensive workout that enhances several mental functions.

The benefits of solving jigsaw puzzles include exercising and sharpening your memory, strengthening the connections between your memory centers, improved hand-eye and spatial coordination, and observation skills.† The process of referencing the big picture and hunting for the right pieces at the right time nurture logical thought processes, including analyzing, sequencing and deducing skills.

As with other mind-stimulating leisure activities, solving jigsaw puzzles doubles the decreased likelihood of developing Alzheimerís disease.† This effect is linked to participating in these activities between the ages of 20 and 60, further confirming that puzzles are not just for kids.

While it hasnít been determined that intellectual stimulation can prevent the onset of Alzheimerís, according to Dr. Zaven Khachaturian, Editor in Chief of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, puzzling builds up a reserve of neuron connections, which serves to delay the onset of the disease.

An additional benefit of jigsaw puzzling is that it can be enjoyed by adults and kids alike, though kids may lose patience during those spans when no easy connections are being made (OK, not just the kids!)† Maybe make this a souvenir of choice when your family goes on vacation.† There are a number of jigsaw puzzle manufacturers who produce puzzles made from 100% recycled paper.

My recommendation: set the puzzle up in a space where it can safely stay intact for several weeks, and let everyone fiddle with it at their leisure.† When that last piece is place the thrill of victory can be enjoyed by all.

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Read more: Alzheimer's, Caregiving, Children, Conditions, Crafts & Hobbies, Family, General Health, Health, Healthy Aging, Mental Wellness, Teens, , , , , , , , , ,

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Terri Hall

Terri Hall lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. In addition to writing, Terri works with public television and radio stations/networks in the area of new media, and leads workshops on authentic and empowered living.


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11:49AM PST on Nov 28, 2012

Thank you for this.

2:21PM PST on Feb 6, 2012


6:03AM PDT on Jun 10, 2011

I enjoy doing puzzles. Thanks for the article.

3:06AM PDT on Apr 16, 2011

It is good to exercise the brain.

11:45AM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

Good to know!

8:35AM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

Thanks for the article

8:06PM PDT on Apr 9, 2011

Great info. playing chess also help

2:32PM PDT on Apr 9, 2011

While I still lived with my parents me and my older brother used to get a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle for Christmas which we then solved during the holiday before school started in January. We fought a lot as kids (like siblings usually do) but this was something fun and calming, and it made me and my brother closer. I still love jigsaw puzzles.

9:04AM PDT on Apr 4, 2011

cool! i need to do more puzzles

11:04PM PDT on Apr 1, 2011

I have 2 things to share:
A.)My kittys like to help, no matter what I'm doing including when I'm using my sewing machine,..the needle going up & down! point is: after working on a puzzle for a while, we cover it up with a table cloth..While working on it, we used a large cardboard box with the sides cut down and fashioned a lid for it out of other cardboard and ducttape, and stored it under a bed, until time to work on the puzzle again.
B.) I have a friend who"s husband puts 1000Pc. jigsaw puzzles together upside down..HE NEVER SEES THE PICTURE, JUST THE SHAPES!...He said he does that when he feels bored!....TRUE STORY!!!..just amazing!..Have fun!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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