This is How Puzzles Stimulate the Brain

This is How Puzzles Stimulate the Brain

Jigsaw puzzles can be a useful tool for people recovering from a stroke who need to work on certain areas like concentration and fine motor skills.

Love the Sunday crossword? No doubt it’s fun to tackle it and to receive that feeling of accomplishment once you’ve completed it.  You can build your vocabulary and boost your confidence levels, which is great. Do word puzzles do much else for you, though?

It’s been debated whether or not crossword puzzles and challenges like Sudoko do anything significant to help exercise your memory or other cognitive abilities. Some experts say they do and others preach an alternate tune.

When it comes to jigsaw puzzles though, it’s a different story. If the puzzle is really easy for you to complete, it’s fun but likely not doing much for your brain.

Related: This New Diet Developed by Researchers Could Substantially Slow Alzheimer’s in Stroke Survivors

If it’s a challenge though, as a stroke survivor you could be benefiting in the same way as a child does, with a growing brain.

According to Elissa Sungar, an early childhood educator in Denver and contributor to the Huffington Post, jigsaw puzzles can benefit kids and adults in a variety of ways.

Picture puzzles help you hone your fine motor skills, when you manipulate those small pieces.

You can also enhance your hand-eye coordination and exercise your memory skills by doing them. You need to remember which pieces you’ve already tried in which places, in order to build your picture.

And if you complete your puzzles in a group, you’re building social skills.

Finally, problem-solving skills are involved. What steps will you follow to successfully complete your task?

The American Stroke Association recommends that stroke victims who need to rehabilitate their concentration and fine motor skills try jigsaw puzzles that suit their level.

Puzzles that involve less than 500 pieces can be appropriate, such as these sold online for seniors. Find something that’s not too frustrating, but that provides a challenge.

And of course, jig saw puzzles are just plain fun to do. Who needs a better reason to pick up some pieces?

Photo credits: PureSolution/

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