Anything that gets us to think can improve our brain’s cognitive abilities, but chess can also improve your physical well-being.
Almost any type of activity can have benefits for body and mind, and that includes chess. Anything that gets us to think can improve our brain’s cognitive abilities, but chess can also improve your physical well-being, even if you’re sitting in a chair. Who would have guessed that sitting can benefit your health, especially when we’re constantly told that sitting and watching TV is the worst thing we can do for our bodies?
Well, apparently playing chess does a lot for the physical structure of our bodies, so let’s have a look at the exact benefits.
Playing Chess Encourages the Growth of Dendrites
Dendrites are the cells contained within your brain. They are what conducts signals from neuron to neuron in your brain. When you play a game of chess then your brain is actually stimulated to grow more dendrites. More dendrites means that your brain can increase the speed and the quality of the neural communicators. This better processing power will help to increase the performance of your brain over time.
Chess Uses Both Sides of the Brain
If you’re working out, both sides of your body need to be equally exercised so that both legs and arms possess similar strength. This is also important for the brain, yet many mental activities we do only work one side of the brain. Chess actually gives both sides of your brain a good workout. If you do this over time, your brain will also perform better, which in turn gives you a better advantage on future chess matches. Playing chess involves using the brain’s left side that helps you to deal with object recognition. When your chess game needs the right side of your brain, this helps you with pattern recognition. Since chess involves many rules, techniques, and visual recognition, over time the game will help to stimulate both sides of your brain.
Chess Is the Perfect Alzheimer’s Disease Preventative
It’s not surprising that if the elderly are stuck in a care home and all they do is sit and watch TV, that soon their minds turn to mush. In one medical study conducted by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 488 seniors were part of a study. These seniors were allowed to play chess on a regular basis. Obviously, they’re the ones who had a decreased risk of dementia. Since chess stimulates brain activity, it keeps the mind from deteriorating, and keeps it functioning at the normal rate even into the senior years. Even though the seniors experienced benefits at advanced ages, perhaps playing chess starting from an early age can provide additional protections, and even help the depression and anxiety that the elderly seem to experience.
Helps to Prevent Schizophrenia
Chess can even provide benefits to patients who suffer mental health conditions. Even though the mind is greatly impacted, it leads right back to the brain. During one study at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience in Bron, France, the doctors had schizophrenic patients play chess for a number of hours. They compared them to the patients who didn’t play chess. The patients who did play chess had a better attention span, better planning, and reasoning abilities than the ones who didn’t play chess. And interestingly, these patients decided to continue playing chess even after the study was done.
Many Benefits to Children
When children play chess it also helps to improve their thinking and problem-solving skills too. If they’re introduced to chess at a young age, they’ll likely do much better in school for the years ahead. Apparently playing chess will help to improve the child’s cognitive abilities. They’ll naturally do better in reading and math scores. Apparently the second grade is the best time to teach children how to play chess, though some may be ready to learn the game at the age of four or five years old.
It Can Increase Your IQ
While it’s possible that you’ll have some extremely smart people excel at chess, there are also many people who’ll also get smarter the more they play the game. Playing chess can increase your IQ level over time. Your IQ will improve with regular chess instruction and by actually playing the game for several weeks.
Builds Better Self-Confidence
There are many famous people who play chess, such as Mangus Carlsen, grand master, and RZA, hip-hop producer. These influencers will help encourage people to play chess and show just how fun and cool it is. And apparently playing chess can also help to build up your self-esteem. Since this is a game that is played by individuals, rather than people in teams, you’re on your own. If you lose, you can review your game to figure out where you went wrong. Both playing and analyzing the game helps to builds up your mental strength and self-confidence, and that can be applicable to everyday life situations too.
Great for Rehabilitation and Therapy Purposes
Even patients who are suffering from brain injuries can benefit from chess. It can be a form of therapy for people who have been in bad accidents or who have suffered from strokes. Playing chess is also a good therapy for children with autism or children with developmental disabilities. And not only can chess help benefit the brain, but it’s also good for motor skills too. The very act of picking up and lifting a chess piece across the board is good for a patient’s motor skills. The mental effort required to play the game will help to improve communication skills and cognitive abilities. Playing the game also teaches young kids to sit down to relax and focus. This can help to calm and center patients who may be experiencing anxiety.
Makes You More Creative
Since chess is a game that is played one-on-one, it’s just you who is responsible for your success. The game can help to release your creativity and help you plan your attack. You’ll learn how to adapt to situations. After you play chess on a regular basis you’ll discover that you experience growth in creative thinking and originality.
Helps You to Learn Fast Problem-Solving Skills
Chess is not only good for children but can also help adults with their problem-solving skills too. You must think quickly and work on your problem-solving skills. And since the game is constantly changing and evolving as your opponent moves the pieces around the board, you must also think up new ways to solve the chess problems.
Teaches Planning and Foresight for Teens
When teens play the game of chess they’ll better learn strategic and critical thinking skills. The prefrontal cortex part of the brain will be better developed. This will help teenagers in all aspects of their lives, including keeping them from making irresponsible and risky choices.
Helps to Improve Reading Skills
Even though you’re not actually reading anything in a game of chess, unlike Monopoly, there will still be improvement in the reading skills of children who play the game. Playing the game improves the cognitive function of the brain so that other parts of it are also developed to increase the success of all courses in school.
Improves Your Memory
Chess definitely improves your memory because of not only having to remember the complex moves and rules or chess, but also because you have to access your memory to not play moves that have failed you in the past. You’ll also need to remember your opponent’s playing style from the past so you can better improve your game. The best chess plays will develop excellent memory and recall performance that will also help everyone in other aspects of their lives.
Chess is Fun and Entertaining
Besides all the benefits to brain performance and the physical body, chess is also fun and entertaining to play. Many people may play chess for its therapeutic abilities, while some simply play it for fun. Chess allows you to spend time with family and friends, and is a much better option than sitting in front of the TV and not communicating with each other.
More Benefits to Playing Chess
It’s not surprising that chess can be both fun and good for your physical and mental well-being. The very act of sitting down and thinking about your chess move is apparently good for your brain. Not only can chess help to prevent brain deterioration, but it can help it to heal too.
If you haven’t sat down for a good game of chess recently, it may be time to do so now. If you don’t have a chess board or pieces it’s time to put it onto your shopping list. There are so many different types of chess pieces that you can buy and add to your collection. There are few games that provide cognitive benefits but are also fun to play. Now it’s your turn!