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Why Puzzles Are Good For You

By John

January 26th, 2010

For decades now regular physical exercise has become a way of life for most of us. We all understand the importance of this for our long term health and we build this activity into our daily schedules. Jogging is more popular than ever while others join aerobics classes or head to the pool. The explosion in gyms and fitness equipment for our homes confirms this trend. Diet has also become an important part of our life styles with the goal of long and healthy lives.

When we talk about exercise and diet in the context of long and healthy lives what do we mean? For most of us we are thinking about avoiding those killer diseases that have taken friends and family. Heart disease and cancer are usually top of the list with diabetes becoming a growing concern. But what about Alzheimer’s, and dementia in general, that are increasingly impacting the life styles of the older members of our society? If you have been unfortunate enough to witness friends and family be afflicted by these diseases you will know how debilitating they can become. So what are we doing in our daily lives to try and mitigate these diseases? For most of us the answer is not very much, but, there are exercises that we can all do that will help keep our brains healthy.

So why do we do physical exercise? It is to improve muscle tone and increase blood flow and it is the latter that improves the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to our muscles. Well, our brains function in the same way needing exercise to maintain their inter-neural connections. The similarity does not stop there. In the same way we do different physical exercises to work different muscle groups our brain requires different exercises to maintain all of it. Giving our brains a total work out is important because as we get older, just like our bodies, it becomes less supple and loses its strength. Just spending 10 to 15 minutes a day on a variety of different puzzles will help give your brain that much needed workout.

Our brains are made up of 100 billion neurons and it is these brain cells that control our main cognitive functions. Synapses are the inter-neural connections that link all of these neurons and when we are young children we have some 1,000 trillion of them. By adulthood half of these will have decayed away and they will continue to fade and die is we don’t use them. Mental exercises can therefore help prevent further declines of these synapses and sharpen our minds and improve our memories. Furthermore, neurons have specialized extensions called dendrites that bring information into the cell body and axons that take information away from the cell body. When we exercise our brains we make them stronger because when we do make them work they will physically grow new dendrites and axons.

At Samgine our goal is to bring you an ongoing collection of puzzles that can form part of your daily mental work out. The thing that will be different at Samgine, compared to the other books and other puzzle sites, is that we are leverage animation software to give you a whole new and different experience to your brain exercises. Oh, and did we mention that they will be a lot of fun too?