I had a great-aunt who lived to age 109 (really) and although she experienced some physical decline as she aged, her mind was sharp until the day she died. She played Bridge well into her early 100s and my mother and I were convinced that all that card-counting and trick-taking is at least one of the reasons her brain stayed so sharp. I’m planning to follow my aunt’s example because I believe that learning new things is a great way to keep my brain active and engaged, even if I don’t actually live to be 109.
I have to learn how to play first, of course. I know enough to know that Bridge isn’t easy, or maybe I should say that playing Bridge well isn’t easy. Plus, my best skills are in the area of words and language, not numbers, but that’s exactly why I believe that learning and playing Bridge will be good for me. It will exercise my brain and help keep my cognitive skills sharp. At least I hope so.
If playing cards doesn’t appeal to you, how about learning to cook? A foreign language? Chess? My point, of course, is to learn, to challenge yourself, to get better at something. We all know that physical exercise is beneficial but I’ve come to believe that mental exercise is important too. Card games like Bridge have the added benefit of being sociable, something I can do with other people.
If I live to be a really senior citizen, I hope I’ll be spending a good chunk of my time sitting around a square table with playing cards in my hands, adding up points and calculating how to fulfill a Three Spades contract. I’ll be having some fun, hanging out with friends and keeping my brain sharp. Hand me the cards, I’ll deal.
Kimberly Hanes is a writer with a passionate love for words and ideas and extensive experience in business communications and event planning.
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