Crosswords are a popular past time. Hogging the Sunday paper to sit and solve this mind-boggling maze of words is an actual hobby. For anyone who loves a challenge, crosswords are perfect. Not only that, these word puzzles are immensely beneficial, with a lot of scientific studies supporting the fact as well. They enhance your mental abilities and positively affect emotional well-being.

 Avoid Brain Drain

So why exactly do people solve crosswords? For starters, it is not out of a sadistic need to do things that are extra tough or challenging. Different types of puzzles will activate different parts of the brain depending on the kind of function required. Crosswords serve to activate the parts of the brain that deal with language and memory to some extent, which are the temporal and parietal lobes.

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Regular crosswords most definitely improve problem-solving skills. This type of exercise for the brain reveals how quickly our subconscious mind finds the answer to a puzzle. If you are working really hard on finding that one word, you probably won’t get it. But the moment you move on to the next clue, you’ll have your answer. The subconscious mind is actively engaged in solving a crossword puzzle as well.

 The Benefits Of Crosswords

Solving a crossword regularly definitely has some observable effects on the brain. This brain exercise keeps dementia at bay or slows down its onset and progression. It has also been observed that regular crossword solvers experience a slowdown of Alzheimer’s. Overall brain function is improved, with major benefits to a person’s memorizing skills. Crosswords most likely affect fluency- the brain function that deals with language.

However, solving just any crossword is not beneficial. You have to challenge yourself to make your brain look for answers. A 12th std student who should actually be studying calculus but is instead studying quadratic equations is operating way below his or her level. Similarly, any crossword that you can solve in minutes is not helping you at all.

Developmental Benefits

Certain classroom materials use crossword puzzles as a method of teaching. Crossword puzzles are believed to be highly effective in teaching new vocabulary. Solving puzzles enhance early childhood development by teaching children a variety of skills, such as hand-eye coordination and cognitive skills such as problem solving (even a simple jigsaw helps) and memory retention.

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Finally, just like every theory in the scientific world, there are people who disapprove of the connection between crosswords and improving brain functions. They cite lack of actual data and state that just observational data without a control group cannot really prove this particular theory. Why take chances, though? Get cracking on that Sunday crossword puzzle and keep yourself active!

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