Here are some of the benefits of jigsaw puzzles, and why they're so good for us!
1. Puzzles stimulate and exercise your brain (both sides simultaneously!)
Solving a jigsaw puzzle engages both sides of your brain: the logical and analytical left brain, and the creative and intuitive right brain. Jigsaw puzzles are mental workouts, helping you to exercise and train your brain in problem-solving, visual-spatial reasoning, and creative engagement.
2. Research suggests that cognitive stimulation from puzzles can help combat Alzheimer's disease
A study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, which was published in the Jan 2012 issue of Archives of Neurology, which compared the PET-brain scans of elderly people (with an average age of 75) with and without Alzheimer's disease, and of young people (with an average age of 25), found that the elderly people who regularly engaged in mind-stimulating activities such as jigsaw puzzles, had brain scans that were comparable to the younger participants who were 50 years their junior.
They also discovered that the elderly people who regularly did puzzles and other mind-stimulating activities (throughout their lifetime), had the smallest presence of beta-amyloid protein - a major component of the brain plaques that characterises Alzheimer's disease - in their brains.
3. Feeling stressed? Puzzles are a great stress reliever and can be a calming and meditative activity
The act of completing a jigsaw puzzle can be a very calming, relaxing and meditative experience. According to Dr. Michelle McCoy Barrett, a clinical psychologist: "Puzzles are more than just a way to pass the time. Particularly during periods of high stress, becoming immersed in a puzzle can be like practicing a mindful meditation - relaxing your mind and body, decreasing stress, and even slowing your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure."
Puzzles are also the perfect solo activity to take you out of the stress and chaos of your daily life for a quiet break and alone time.
Disclaimer: The research information on this page is of a general nature. This is not medical advice. For medical advice you should always consult a doctor or medical professional.