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Completing crosswords and sudokus can help keep our brains working better, for longer, research suggests.
Completing crosswords and sudokus can help keep our brains working better, for longer, research suggests.

Recent research suggests picking up a pen may help your brain.

The more regularly adults aged 50 and over played puzzles such as crosswords and Sudoku, the better their brain function, according to research in more than 19,000 participants, led by the University of Exeter and King's College London. The findings were published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Researchers asked participants in the PROTECT study to report how frequently they engage in word and number puzzles and undertake a series of cognitive tests measuring changes in brain function. They found that the more regularly participants engaged with the puzzles, the better they performed on tasks assessing attention, reasoning and memory.

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From their results, researchers calculate that people who engage in word puzzles have brain function equivalent to ten years younger than their age, on tests assessing grammatical reasoning and eight years younger than their age on tests measuring short-term memory.

University of Exeter Medical School's Dr Anne Corbett said: "We can't say that playing these puzzles necessarily reduces the risk of dementia in later life but this research supports previous findings that indicate regular use of word and number puzzles helps keep our brains working better for longer."