What does healthy living make you think of? The images that probably pop up are hitting the gym, going for a jog, munching a boring salad and sipping on green juice.
But, the answer to staying healthy could be simpler – and even more fun – than you think.
In 2002, a study by the Psychology Department at Southampton University found playing bingo significantly sharpened the minds ability to solve problems faster and even increase coordination. We look into these and other ways playing bingo can keep you healthy.
Bingo is like a gym for the brain. You might think marking off your numbers and competing for the prize pot is just a bit of fun, but the truth is, bingo requires mental speed, accuracy, concentration and the ability to recognise patterns.
So, the more you play bingo, the more you’re training your brain to work at speed and more efficiently.
Bingo can help to improve our ability to preserve memories because it demands players to use the memory part of the brain.
To play, you need to remember which numbers have been called out, which are remaining on the cards and how many more calls are going to be made.
Fortunately, because bingo keeps the mind active, it has been shown to reduce the effects of dementia and Alzheimers, which is why more care homes are embracing the game.
As we age our reflexes and coordination skills naturally decline, but due to the speed and repetitive nature of bingo, improved hand-eye coordination is another health benefit of the classic game.
This results in improved reaction times as well as enhanced agility.
A game of bingo can invite plenty of laughs and excitement and laughter is an extremely important part of staying healthy.
Why? It triggers a number of physical changes in the body that boosts the immune system, relieves stress and even diminishes pain.
Who would’ve thought a simple numbers game could help you heal?
In 2011, Salisbury District Hospital in Wiltshire reported that hospital stays were shorter for elderly patients who played bingo throughout their recovery.
Following this revelation, The British Medical Association (BMA) published a further report supporting the idea that keeping patients active using games like bingo reduced hospital stays.
When the trial came to an end, leading medical professionals were so impressed, they launched a nationwide scheme to encourage hospitals to play bingo with their patients.
Social interactions are key to maintaining a happy and healthy life and you don’t need to drag yourself down to the local bingo hall to get your dose of social.
And if you’re worried about missing your numbers while you chat, don’t be! Many sites give players an auto dab option so their cards are marked whilst they chat.
Of course, playing this way means you won’t benefit from the brain-boosting aspect of the game. But, with auto dab you have the option of dipping in and out of the game; so there’s still plenty of opportunities to flex those brain muscles.
Don’t worry about disturbing anyone else’s game whilst you chat. Unlike traditional bingo halls where the slightest whisper during a game is frowned up, with online bingo each person is playing in their own space with the chat being run through the keyboard.
When you’re trying to watch what you eat or stick to your slimming plan, it’s always a good idea to have something to do to distract you from thinking about food.
Bingo is the perfect activity to help you stay on top of your healthy eating plan. You’ll be so engrossed in gameplay you won’t want to raid the goodies cupboard.
Plus, a lot of overeating tends to come from boredom so if you’re playing bingo, online or offline, your brain won’t have a chance to get bored.
With online bingo taking place 24/7, it means you can get your dose of happy at any time that suits you.
If you’re feeling slightly under the weather, or you’re late in from work, for example, you won’t have to miss out on the health benefits of bingo because it doesn’t fit in with the bingo hall timetable.
New games start every few minutes so you are in charge of when and where you play.
Of course to make sure you stay on top of your game means you will have to incorporate a healthy balance of activities, including some real-world physical exercise and a healthy diet (and a bingo budget!), but if a game of online bingo can come with health benefits then sign us up.
Rachael is a freelance writer with a particular interest in online gaming. As an enthusiastic online bingo roomie, Rachael enjoys writing about the history of the UK's favourite game as well as discovering the latest trends.
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