The 12 Incredible Health Benefits of Board Games
7) Improve concentration and attention level
Research from Coventry and Toronto University has shown how similarly to reading a book, focusing on the rules and strategies that must be addressed in playing a board game help increase concentration levels.
A recent study, conducted at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, highlighted how play increases the skills of planning, memory, attention and reasoning.
This is because board games for several people train the neural networks, or the bonds between cells, and stimulate neurons to make contact with each other, increasing important “reserves” of the brain.
If in daily life, in fact, we are continually bombarded by stimuli deriving from TV, social media and messaging that hammers us every few minutes, during a board game we have the opportunity to “free the mind”.
In this way the brain is able to focus on a single goal, without having to constantly change its “focus” due to the multitasking environment that surrounds us.
A 60-minute game, played carefully and without getting distracted, will suffice to perceive an increase in concentration in the moments following the game.
8) Reduction in blood pressure
Playing a game in company of a board game has the “side effect” of lowering arterial blood pressure. In fact, the release of endorphins helps not only to relax the mind, but also to keep blood pressure at normal levels.
9) Stimulation of the immune system
This is of course a passive side effect. It is already known that negative attitude, depression and stress can reduce the body’s ability to have a stable immune system. Positive feelings and thoughts, such as laughter and fun that are accompanied by a good board game, prevent these effects by releasing endorphins that are able to fight stress with great benefit of the immune system.
10) Slowing of the mental aging process
Cognitive flexibility, attention, working memory and abstract reasoning tend to decrease with age. Many experiments, with elderly participants, show that more or less strategic play leads to marked improvements in all these skills (Basek et al., 2008). One study found that gambling in old age led not only to cognitive improvements, but also to better self-esteem and better perceived quality of life by older participants.
11) For children – Development of critical thinking
It is known how board games force you to formulate strategies to solve the game. (Obviously this depends on the game). In particular, it has been shown that children develop a greater critical sense when they realize that “intelligence” can be trained. (2015 Gwen Dewar, PhD). In this sense, it is very useful for children to play a board game by discussing the tactics and strategies they want to implement and showing them how game after game they become more and more skilled and capable. In this sense, the presence of an adult with whom to discuss strategies and (and therefore training one’s critical thinking in front of an adult), is stimulating and very useful!
12) For children – Concept of victory and defeat
A study of child psychology (Gobet 2004) has shown how board games, when played with adults, speed up the understanding of the concept of victory or defeat, always learning to respect other players. In a board game, children soon learn that victory or defeat are only marginal components, which do not affect the fun of being in company. Furthermore, the mistake can be a moment of growth, in which to understand and improve for the future.
On the contrary, many children show that even if they lose, if they have fun, they are ready to resume the “game” by making even more effort.
… A board game, it’s forever!