29 January is Puzzle Day, the day to celebrate all things puzzle related.
Of course puzzles are wonderful things, created to challenge, to entertain, to confound, even to frustrate when we cannot solve them. They come in all shapes and forms – jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, soduko, three-dimensional challenges, folding puzzles, disentanglement puzzles, cryptograms, mathematical puzzles, word puzzles, mazes, riddles, lateral thinking puzzles, logical paradoxes, you name it. No matter what your specific interests, there’s sure to be a puzzle type that tickles your fancy.
Personally, I’ve never been the biggest crossword fan (somehow just never got into it), but I do quite enjoy the odd maths puzzle and I love a good 3-D challenge, especially a tough disentanglement puzzle.
While puzzles are often merely used for entertainment purposes, they can also serve a more specific cause. Companies like Microsoft have been known to challenge job interviewees with logical puzzles to test their logical, deductive skills. Puzzles can also stem from real-life mathematical or logistical problems, in which case the efforts to solve them can potentially contribute to basic mathematical research.
Not only are puzzles fun – they can also be quite beneficial to your mental development. According to a University of Chicago study, kids playing with puzzles develop better spatial skills. Puzzles also improve hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, logical problem solving ability and memory.
A recent study also suggests that people who regularly exercise their minds with puzzles are a lot less likely to develop brain plaques that are tied to Alzheimer’s disease. Other beneficial activities include reading and writing.
All research seem to agree that regularly mental exercise are as beneficial to your mind as physical exercise is to your body, and the earlier you start the better. While starting to do crossword puzzles or taking up chess after retirement may help a little, the real benefits are gained by those who start early in life.
So why not use this Puzzle Day to kick-start your daily brain-gym? Here are a couple of interesting sites you may want to visit: