Keeping yourself healthy goes hand in hand with active exercise and a conscious diet. For mental health, training of the mind (or the brain) is also important. If you don’t use your brain, the cells degenerate and may cause atrophy. Many things are suitable for mental training, such as reading, learning a new language, memory exercises, playing chess, or activities like joining lessons in chess held remotely are good activities that promote brain health. In this article, let’s explore the benefits of playing chess for mental health.
The Mental Health Benefits of Playing Chess
- Increase attention and patience. When playing chess, the players have to make an effort. You need to be alert and consciously consider what step to take next. So you have to really make an effort and ponder. The memory is thus strained and thus stimulated. This not only leads to strong attention during the game but also to other situations, such as solving a crossword puzzle. Also, chess is a slow game that takes a lot of time. That is why you will have to learn to be more patient while playing chess because if you move too fast, you are more likely to make a bad move. This can also be helpful in everyday life.
- Improve brain hemispheres. Scientists have proven that playing chess leads to extensive use of the entire brain. Both hemispheres of the brain are used. This happens not only in chess but also in all other memory sports. If you play chess more often, you train the use of both hemispheres of the brain and get better and better in this area. The information can be processed faster and better. This in turn leads to a healthy brain, which offers a health benefit to the player.
- More chess – more IQ. Most people assume that because you have a higher IQ you play chess. But that is a wrong assumption. Several studies have proven that playing chess actually increases IQ. This means that the more and the more often you pick up the chessboard and play a round or two, the more you increase your IQ. This has positive health benefits.
- Prevention and staying fit. The brain is just a muscle in our body. So if we don’t use and train it properly, it loses muscle strength and can no longer be used as effectively. It is therefore important at any age to load the brain with exercises and tasks, but this is an indispensable measure, especially in old age. So, playing chess not only entertains the elderly and is fun, but also trains the brain at the same time. An American study found that seniors who were older than 75 and played chess regularly were less likely to develop dementia than those who did not play.
- Improved fine motor skills. Another health benefit that comes from playing chess is the improvement in fine motor skills. This property is used primarily in the event of a stroke, accident, or disability. Fine motor skills are improved, as not only does the brain have to be strained, but the connection to the hands has to be established as well. Here the figures have to be moved differently depending on the game piece. Either forward, backward or diagonally and then with a different number. The game of chess helps to improve fine motor skills. Playing with an opponent also trains cognitive and communication skills.
Related: Why mental health matters?
Maintaining good physical and mental health is extremely important for us to function and keep up with the fast-paced world. While there are other activities that can enhance good mental health, chess is among the most noted brain sport that provides a lot of benefits for the brain.