We may just think of board games as something to take out on holidays or if you have heaps of free time. However, board games hold a whole range of health benefits that are usually overlooked. One of the most classic board games, backgammon, is a treasure trove that offers you a lot more than just entertainment.
Here are some of the ways the competitive game can benefit your body, brain, and well-being.
Improves memory and cognition
Backgammon can boost memory and cognition abilities in people of all ages. Through playing board games, the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus are given a workout. These areas are responsible for memory formation and complex thought processes. Therefore, the strategic and tactical aspects of the game are perfect to get these regions active.
Reduces risk of mental diseases
Due to the exercise your brain is getting through playing the board game, your risk of cognitive diseases, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, is decreased.
Boosts endorphin levels
When one person pulls ahead or three consecutive double sixes are rolled, you can’t help but smile and laugh no matter what side you’re playing for. When this occurs the flow of endorphins within us increases, these are neurochemicals that increase our feelings of happiness. This chemical boost also decreases blood pressure, in turn decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Sharing laughter can also promote compassion, empathy, and trust in others.
As two players are needed to play backgammon, it promotes social interaction and can help reduce feelings of isolation. Loneliness has sharply increased during the pandemic and is linked to an increase in risk for numerous mental illnesses. Having regular groups of people to play backgammon with – whether that be online or in-person – can help solve these issues and create an environment to build positive relationships.
Board games in general can help boost self-esteem due to the structured social environment they bring, the sense of faith in your abilities you feel, and the decision-making skills you gain.
Boosts childhood development
The board game is a fun-filled way to teach math and probability concepts to children. It also provides a healthy social outlet to form bonds with both children and adults on a level playing field. Other important life skills can be subconsciously taught by playing backgammon, like learning to lose and how bad luck can throw anyone off their track.