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This Is How Your Daily NYT Games Habit Reduces Your Risk Of Dementia

We are truly in our puzzle era. It all started with Wordle. It came out back in October 2021 when for many of us, we were still spending a lot of time at home and these daily 5-letter puzzles were providing a sense of community that we’d been sorely missing.

With it, came a lot of spin-offs such as Heardle, where you had to figure out the song from a 5-second clip and could share your results with others.

Now, so many of us are hooked to the NYT Games section, which is where Wordle can now be found. In this section, there’s a lot of wordy puzzles from crosswords to Connections — a game with a similar premise to a round UK’s quiz show Only Connect.

I know for myself, my day hasn’t started until I’ve done Wordle, Spelling Bee, Connections, the mini crossword and now Strands.

However, these puzzles aren’t just a good kickstart to the day or way to find community, they’re actually improving our brain health and reducing our risk of dementia

How puzzles reduce the risk of dementia

Of course, most of these kinds of games are brain-stimulating and they’re a form of exercise — the more you do them, the better you get at them and the sharper your skills are.

So, researchers in Australia looked to find out just how impactful puzzles, games and crosswords are on our brains.

The research, published last summer asked the question: “Are socially and mentally stimulating activities associated with reduced dementia risk among older adults who have reached age 70 years in relatively good health?”

The researchers found that yes, these activities, specifically in regards to adult literacy and active mental activities, can help with reducing the risk of dementia.

This is because ‘active mental activities’ including crosswords, puzzles, playing games, cards or chess are competitive in nature, often involve complex strategies as well as challenging our problem-solving skills. Researchers also noted that the social interaction often involved in these activities is also beneficial to our brain health.

Speaking to Prevention, Michael Cuccaro, Ph.D., co-director, John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics at The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine said: “For many older adults, keeping their brains fit is the result of different challenges and the more we use our brains for new and exciting activities, the more they remain agile and receptive.”

How very hopeful.

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