How playing chess can benefit the brain

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We have previously blogged about the best at home hobbies to help keep the elderly mind active and one of those hobbies mentioned was playing chess and other strategic games as they can help exercise your memory.

In today’s blog we wanted to delve more into the benefits playing chess can have on the brain and how it can protect the brain from cognitive decline.

Playing a game of chess involves cognitive abilities such as planning, analysis and problem-solving and the more you play the more you build up the brain’s cognitive reserves. These reserves enable the brain to retain its normal function.

All six areas of the brain are put to work when playing a game of chess, these are short-term memory, long-term memory, critical thinking and analysis, linguistic analysis and processing, visual-spatial processing and the assessment of outcomes, risks and effects. These are all stimulated simultaneously when playing a game of chess.

Chess can also help the brain grow dendrites, which are tree-like structures in the brain that help neurons communicate with each other. The more dendrites your brain grows the more efficiently it works.

The brain works like a muscle and so it needs exercising every once in a while, in order to keep it functioning well. Studies have shown that people over the age of 75 who engage in brain-stretching activities such as playing chess, are less likely to develop dementia. It’s never too late to learn how to play chess and the earlier you start playing, the better it is for your brain.