That pile of board games collecting dust beside your bed? It could be the key to your great health. Board games are in existence since the dawn of civilization- they’re entertaining and provide healthy competition. Good health usually brews with rigorous exercise and diet and we often tend to forget the aspect of mental fitness and health. Things that boost our mental abilities and fitness are as good and as important as physical abilities and fitness. Here are 8 surprising benefits of playing board games:

Better memory and increased cognitive functioning

Many board games deal with cognitive functions such as memory, information retention, problem-solving, and complex situations. These aspects of board games help develop the mind and sharpen memory. Improvement in cognitive functions increases IQ and enhances learning capacity and ability. Board games help build the hippo campus and the prefrontal cortex, which are responsible for complex functions. It is proven that any activity that helps the brain acquire new skills and exercise the muscles of the mind helps the brain become healthier.

Lower risk of mental diseases

Did you know? Playing board games reduce the risk of mental diseases to a great extent. One of the greatest benefits of board games is reducing the risk of cognitive dissonance, which implies a decline in cognitive ability. A decline in cognitive ability is associated with mental health problems like Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Regularly playing board games keeps the mind active and cognitive functions lubricated facilitating declined risk of mental diseases in older ages.

Lowers blood pressure

Along with laughing and positive social behaviors, board games help build a positive attitude due to the release of endorphins. Endorphins have a unique capacity to relax muscles and enhance blood circulation in the body. A healthy dose of board games can help lower and maintain blood pressure. High blood pressure is associated with heart risks, artery damage, and stroke. Playing board games increase endorphins in the body and thus makes people more positive, relaxed, and calm.

Lowers stress

Almost 53% of people said they play games for relaxing and stress relief purposes. Board games are healthy distractions to unwind and help your mind muscle work at the same time. It is a great social activity that encourages learning and development as well, which in turn boost confidence and motivation.

Speed your responses

Regularly playing board games has proven to keep the mind more active and focused. This has helped people respond better to situations that require quick judgment and agility. The awareness required in the games helps people be more target-oriented in general. Games also activate your “survival genes” that help build problem-solving and analytical skills over time. So, the next time you lose your wallet and can’t find it for hours, it’s time to bring out that monopoly and get playing.

Helps build the immune system

Studies show that stress, mental health problems, and negativity weaken our ability to ward off diseases. The stress relief and endorphins brought in by playing board games help build immunity by way of positivity and healthy emotions; immunity improving chemicals are released when playing board games which help boost immunity. Board games help boost our brain’s ability to recognize risk and fighting it better, this, in turn, helps our body fight diseases as well.

Child development

Board games play a crucial role in children’s development and growth. It is an important aspect of brain development as they help acquire logical and reasoning skills, boost critical thinking and gain spatial reasoning. Playing board games helps in learning, social and communication skills as well. It helps improve verbal abilities and attention skills by making a child concentrate and focus for longer periods of time.

Therapy treatment

Many board games require the use of basic motor skills of the body liking picking up and moving objects. They are used as a physiotherapy for trauma, to help gain functionality, coordination, and to improve muscle and nerve functions. Regular practice helps improve motor skills and basic functioning which is important for children, people with disabilities, and the elderly.

These are just a few of a large number of benefits playing board games have. So, the next weekend you plan to spend with your kids, dust off those boxes and get the dice rolling!