Do puns help brain health?

It seems that word games have grown in popularity over the years. They are a fun and easy way to entertain yourself. But did you know they can also help keep your brain healthy?

“My idea about these types of puns is that if you enjoy them and they challenge you, so you can’t do it on autopilot, you really have to think about it, then it really serves you a good goal in terms of supporting your brain health for life,” said Dr. Jessica Caldwell, neuropsychologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

Caldwell said there is no minimum or maximum time you should play these kinds of word games, what matters most is playing them regularly.

If you don’t like puns, there are plenty of other options that can give you the same kind of health benefits.

For example, you can do a difficult crossword or play another type of puzzle game. You could even watch a documentary or read a book and then have an in-depth conversation about it with a friend.

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Caldwell said anything that gives you a learning experience or a cognitive challenge is what’s most important.

“In order to keep your memory and your thinking sharp, the key really is challenge and learning. Those are the only ways to really exercise your brain, you develop new neural pathways, you support old neural pathways, so the key is you can’t just be busy,” she said.

Caldwell said if you feel like you’re not good at puns, don’t be too hard on yourself. It might be worth trying something else that is more enjoyable for you.

Copyright 2022 by Cleveland Clinic News Service. All rights reserved.

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