Why Are Puzzles Good for Your Brain?

By Samuel Liberty

The brain is a highly complex machine that constantly forms and reinforces connections between its 100 billion cells. Performing mental exercises, such as puzzles, can help form new connections and boost long-term mental performance.

Making Connections

Connections between brain cells, and in turn the ability of each neuron to chemically signal the 10,000 or so other cells it connects with, are what form memories.

Strenghtening Connections

Memory retrieval and the ability to process new information is associated with brain health. Puzzles can help with both of these important brain functions by strengthening the connections between brain cells.

Giving Your Brain a Work Out

Just as you exercise to build and maintain muscle mass, you can also strengthen your brain by exercising it. Engaging in problem solving exercises creates new connections in the brain while strengthening old ones.

Use It or Lose It

If you don’t give your brain a solid work out, your mental strength starts to deteriorate. As you age, it is important to keep your brain fit through routine exercises.

Continued Importance Throughout Life

According to one study in the Journal of the America Medical Association, elderly people who strengthened their synapses through ten sessions of brain-boosting exercises showed improvement in memory, reasoning skills and mental processing, “well beyond the specific skills the volunteers learned.”

About the Author

Samuel A. Liberty holds a B.F.A. in writing from Emerson College and has spent the last five years building a portfolio as an advertising copywriter. He also serves as Boston's coffee house examiner.