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Childhood Games We Should Keep Playing

Why it’s important to jump rope, put together jigsaw puzzles and play outdoors

  • Blend Images - Hill Street Studios

    En Español | "A child who doesn’t play is not a child, but a man who doesn’t play has lost forever the child who lived within him and whom he will miss terribly," said the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. In fact, many studies indicate that playing isn’t just an enjoyable activity but also a good strategy to stay healthy. Internist Luis Andux, of Wellmax Medical Centers in Florida, says many of his older patients would enjoy better physical and mental health if they had never stopped playing like children. Check out this list of games you can enjoy at any age. But make sure to consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program — even if it’s a children’s game.

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  • Michael Westhoff

    Putting together jigsaw puzzles decreases anxiety, stress and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Keeping the brain active with this type of hobby lowers beta-amyloid protein levels. This protein interferes with neuron function, contributing to the development of Alzheimer’s. 

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  • Juice Images / Alamy

    This old and famous “science game” helps create the neural connections we need throughout our lifetime so that we can think faster and more efficiently. It reduces the likelihood of having dementia and combats memory loss and depression. It’s also an excellent therapy after having a stroke.  

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  • Peter Holmes

    Whether they involve strategy or are games of chance, board games are more than just entertainment; they also help people to stay focused and exercise their memory. In addition, they keep the mind sharp and, since they require several players, promote communication skills.  

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  • Corbis

    Solving riddles and word puzzles is good for cognition and oral expression. Remembering questions and thinking of answers help both grownups and kids to exercise their brains. Riddles and word puzzles also stimulate conversation, which is a good tool to fight depression at any age. 

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  • Hill Street Studios

    Games involving sensory stimulation help cognitive performance and foster an improved, faster motor response after perception of a stimulus. Exercising our senses (such as touch) ensures a better quality of life should we at any time lose another of our senses (such as sight or hearing).  

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  • Rodolfo Arpia / Alamy

    This is undeniably a fun activity at any age and particularly great for heart health. In fact, it’s considered one of the best cardiovascular exercises. It is excellent for losing weight and staying in shape, since doing it burns a lot of calories and tones muscles. 

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  • Image Source / Alamy

    Playing outdoors combats stress and can be the best medicine, since it increases the body’s defenses by releasing endorphins — known as “joy hormones.” So don’t be afraid of looking silly — whenever you have the chance to go to a park, get on a swing, fly a kite or play baseball. – Photo Almay

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