Bingo has become a popular pastime for seniors, with games being held regularly in many residential care facilities and senior centres. This amusing game of chance doesn’t require any special equipment or strenuous movements, so it’s easy to see why it has become so popular amongst the ageing population.
If you are a regular bingo player, you might be asking yourself if there are any perks to the game besides the occasional jackpot win. The good news is that there are several science-backed benefits to playing the game you love the most. This article breaks down the ways bingo is good for the brain and the body.
What Are the Benefits of Playing Bingo?
Bingo isn’t just a game you play for fun. The positive effects come mostly from the increased level of social interaction and mental functioning the game requires. Here are five of the biggest benefits you’ll get from regularly playing bingo.
Increases Social Connection
The biggest benefit of playing bingo is the increased social connection the game provides. Social activity is important for keeping you happy and healthy as you age.
Research has shown that social participation can reduce your risk of mortality, disability, and depression. Being socially active can even slow memory loss.
This means that maintaining close relationships as you age is important for your health. However, having an active social life gets more difficult as you get older.
Social games like bingo can increase time spent around others and therefore provide you with the benefits that come with connecting with others. By regularly attending bingo, you can create a network of friendship and social support that will lift you in all areas of your life.
Boosts Your Brain Power
Studies show that cognitive activities which require focus, like bingo, can increase your thinking speed. It’s also known that skills like concentration work like a muscle, in that the more you use it, the better it gets. Bingo requires plenty of attention, so playing it can help you maintain alertness for longer periods.
This is especially important for seniors who often find that their ability to concentrate decreases as they age. Another study found that regularly playing bingo can even lessen the symptoms of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease. With claims like that, why not play a few rounds every week?
Levels Up Your Dexterity
Unfortunately, the ageing process decreases our hand-eye coordination and reflexes. Fortunately, though, games like bingo can improve your dexterity. The fast nature of the game means that you’ll be utilising lightning-quick reflexes to find numbers on your card.
If you play it often enough, you might find that these improvements make you quicker in other areas of your life, as well. Better coordination helps prevent falls and fractures so you can get around easier and with less pain.
Improves Physical Fitness
Bingo isn’t necessarily a physically active game. However, the social aspects of bingo can have the fringe benefit of improving your physical health. Well-connected individuals often encourage each other to perform healthy behaviours like exercising and proper eating. Social feedback can also discourage us from harmful behaviours like smoking.
This means that seeing your friends regularly at bingo might have a synergistic effect on your health. You’ll get a feeling of purpose and meaning, which is priceless for your mental health and can benefit you even outside of the bingo hall.
Your friends might even encourage you to go out for regular group strolls and other fun physical activities like bowling and shuffleboard. These kinds of activities, when performed regularly, can improve your cardiovascular health and fitness.
As hard as it is to believe, bingo has been found to speed up recovery times after illness or surgery. This likely has to do with the combination of the social and physical benefits that come from playing this game.
Researchers found that seniors who played games like bingo had shorter hospital stays and healing times compared to those who didn’t play any social games. They also found that playing games had a decreased rate of depression during their recovery period. A better mental outlook can increase healing times, too.
Overall, bingo comes with so many social benefits that can improve the health of your body and brain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions about the brain-boosting powers of bingo? Here are some frequently asked questions for more information.
Is bingo good for mental health?
Bingo can lead to increased social participation, which might alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Social connections also have an encouraging effect on our motivation to perform healthy behaviours, like exercise, which can improve our mental health.
Can people with dementia play bingo?
Bingo is a fun game for everyone, but it’s especially good for those with dementia. The high level of mental stimulation helps those with brain dysfunction retain some cognitive functioning.
It can improve memory retention, speed up the thought process, and generally enhance mental functions. It can also help maintain and improve dexterity and coordination, which are often lost during ageing.
Is there any skill in bingo?
Bingo is known mainly as a game of luck since you have no control over the numbers the host draws or on your card. However, there are several ways you can increase your chances of winning.
Having two or more cards increases the likelihood of winning with more possible number combinations. You’ll need the skill of focus when you’re playing with multiple cards, so make sure you brush up on your attention.
Bingo can provide hours of enjoyment for all ages, but it isn’t just a fun game. From increasing mental capacity to improving hand-eye coordination, it gives the brain the leg-up that ageing people often need. It also has the power to bring people together, and the social aspect can reduce depression and help seniors find a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives. So play bingo as often as you like! You might find that it makes you happier and healthier in the long run.