7 surprising health benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles

Puzzles are usually seen as toys, or something you might do for fun. But studies show that the humble jigsaw puzzle also comes with a bunch of health benefits!

There are lots of surprising health benefits to doing jigsaw puzzles

It’s true: multiple studies have suggested that your puzzle hobby could be doing great things for your health. Here’s how:

1. Puzzles help you relax 

Getting lost in a puzzle is a bit like zoning out in a good way. It requires focus and patience, which can actually help calm your mind. It’s kind of like meditation.

And when you find that piece you’ve been looking for, your brain releases a feel-good chemical (dopamine) that makes you feel happy and accomplished.

Studies like this one have extensively explored how dopamine dynamics contribute to learning and motivation, which are essential for understanding the pleasure and engagement derived from solving puzzles.

2. A break from screens 

We’re all guilty of being glued to our screens, something shown to have adverse effects on our health (especially in children).

Swapping screen time for puzzle time gives your eyes a break and helps you unwind in a different way. It’s arguably a much healthier alternative to scrolling through social media or binge-watching TV shows.

Doing a puzzle can give you some valuable time away from your screen!

3. Sharpen your memory 

Looking for pieces, remembering shapes and colours, and figuring out where they go helps keep your memory sharp.

This mental exercise strengthens the connections in your brain, which can make you quicker on your feet in daily life.

4. Improve your motor skills

Believe it or not, puzzles are great for your hands and coordination.

A study from Princeton University even says that puzzles can make your fingers and hands work better. So, it’s not just about the brain; your body gets a workout too.

Some studies claim that jigsaw puzzles can actually help to prevent Alzheimer's

5. Keep your brain healthy

It might sound too good to be true, but doing puzzles can actually help protect your brain from diseases like Alzheimer’s, as evidenced by this study.

They keep your brain active and engaged, which is really good for its overall health.

6. Boost your problem-solving skills 

Every puzzle is a new challenge that tests your problem-solving skills. You have to think about the big picture and the tiny details, which is a great workout for your brain. It’s a bit like exercise, but for your thinking skills.

7. Puzzles are more fun with friends

Puzzling by yourself is great, but doing it with others can be even better. It’s a fun way to spend time together, and it’s good for you too. Working on a puzzle with friends or family is a great way to connect, relax and keep your minds sharp.

So, next time you sit down to work on a puzzle, remember it’s not just for fun. It’s also helping your brain, your mood, and even your social life. And that’s a pretty good reason to keep puzzling!

Try these fun, challenging puzzles!