How exactly jigsaw puzzles can benefit our mental and physical health?

Jigsaw puzzle is a game that can be beneficial to both mental and physical health. Not only is it for children, but it is also great for the elderly and adult of any age.

We know that jigsaw puzzles are good for health in many ways. We have brought you a series of posts about jigsaw puzzles, including history, trends, benefits, and how you can play with children.

Today, we dig deeper into how the jigsaw puzzle can be beneficial to our physical and mental health. Yes, we are aware of its great benefits to the kids’ growth and development. However, there are more for the elderly as well as adults at any age.

Let’s check out the following, and you may be tempted to get online and buy a few puzzles. They are a great gift for yourself and your family for the coming holiday.

Jigsaw puzzles are popular at difficult times

We have covered a bit of history about puzzles before and how this game emerged. They were initially designed for fun as well as for learning purposes. What made this game so popular?

Experts explained that the puzzles flourished during the difficult time of the Great Depression. Many people became unemployed and did not have the money to travel on vacations. They missed going out to explore and were desperate for some replacements for those erotic foreign attractions.

At the same time, many skilled workers lost jobs as businesses suffered. Thousands of them kind of changed fields and cut wood into puzzles.

Earlier, most jigsaw puzzle cutters were female, before more men joined the workforce. Some just did the job at the garages… (Yes, working from home sounds familiar?)

Now, at the pandemic, things look similar for every one of us: We could not travel around like before the breakout. Everyone is looking for a break to escape from the chaos and to distract from whatever problems. Also, people are so eager to feel a sense of accomplishment and boost their mood.

The fact is that the sale of jigsaw puzzles has been going up since the breakout of COVID-19. POD business is expected to continue having a bright prospect since lockdowns years ago. There are many factors contributing to the upward trends, for instance, the evolving technology, increasing demand, and lower costs.

Nonetheless, it is not a coincidence that this game has often played a significant role in difficult times. It works like a comfort object to us…

Board games, like jigsaw puzzle, are good for the elderly's health. It works as a workout for the brain.
credit: ANTONI SHKRABA production

The benefits for your health physically and psychologically

After previously covered specifically children’s health, this time we focus more on adults, especially the elderly. Of course, those benefits can always apply to people at any age…

Improve memory

To assemble puzzles, we need to identify the right pieces and place them in the correct positions. The memory section in one’s brain is going to have a workout in handling the above tasks.

This is a good practice for seniors. It helps reduce the chance of developing memory loss and improves short-term memory.

Good for cognitive abilities

To fit a piece into the correct position, you first need to recognize the right pieces. This is about identifying the shape, color, and texture of a piece, and understanding the big picture, the theme. It is a perfect exercise to improve cognitive ability. This could make a difference in the health of older adults. This works as a precaution for those who may show signs of depreciation.

Relieve dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Associated with the points above, building jigsaw puzzles is going to help relieve the severity of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. There are even puzzles specifically designed for this purpose. Some workouts to improve memory and brain functions are important for the patients. They aim to help slow down the loss of functions.

When picking a puzzle here, it must find a balance according to the individual’s level and ability: They would lose interest quickly in something too easy. So, remember to find a puzzle that is challenging but not overwhelming to the player.

As therapeutics for many health problems

After brain surgery, patients would require rehabilitation to help recover their functions. Puzzles can actually be used as part of a treatment. It is fun and should have less pressure, as you can do it at your pace. A simple move like fitting in a piece is enough to boost one’s confidence and motivate one to keep going.

Jigsaw puzzle is actually a therapeutic or treatment for many health problems. It is more fun and motivational.
credit: Kampus Production

Helpful for autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

People who have ASD may have developmental disabilities to communicate and interact with others and have difficulty behaving. The symptoms may vary for different people, but in general, the jigsaw puzzle is an ideal therapeutic tool here. It is particularly effective for children.

Longer life spans

From studies, people may live longer if they have established the hobby of puzzling. They are better in self-care ability and can have a better living.

Good for mind, body and spirit

Living longer is also related to having a better mood and confidence. This contributes to anyone enjoying a better life. Everyone loves to have a sense of accomplishment, and you can easily find it in finishing a puzzle set. This can even have a bigger impact on the elderly, who may struggle in daily living and feel down.

Build up motor skills

This is the same as for children. The elderly may actually suffer difficulty in their motor skills. Some have trouble controlling their hands and fingers, and for example, could fail to hold a pen to write.

On the other hand, for people who suffer from arthritis, big and thick puzzle pieces may be a better fit.

Bring back the pleasant memory

For grandparents, let’s customize a unique jigsaw puzzle for them. The perfect ideas are photographs that they love, e.g. pictures of their children and grandchildren or their own wedding. It helps evoke some of the best memories of their life and will bring them a smile on their face. Sure, they will be more engaged in puzzling with such themes.

Bonding and communication

Seniors living in nursing homes are often in need of care from others. It may be awkward to start a conversation with fellow residents. A jigsaw puzzle can come into play, which can be an ice-breaking game for bonding and gatherings. You can play against each other and team up together.

Help relax and calm

We are all living busy lives. After a day of hard work, we are seeking some quiet moments to relax. However, your brain is still functioning at top speed and cannot have any control. Jigsaw puzzles are working by giving your brain a break and slowing down gradually.

Puzzling is a great game for bonding and gatherings. Perfect to play with children.
credit: Kampus Production

An alternative to meditation

Similarly, puzzles can work like meditation in some ways. We all know that meditation is beneficial to our health in many ways. But, not everyone can master the process of meditation. For people who may have difficulty, puzzling is a good alternative, and you can adopt it in no time.

Stay focused and concentrated

We need a private moment every now and then. During this “me time”, your brain may still run at a high speed even after leaving the office. Sometimes, it is hard to take a nap right away on the bus, or even have a quiet moment without ideas flying in your mind. Playing puzzles is working like a cool-down process here. It is a perfect entertainment to play after dinner and enjoy the rest of the evening.

Kill time

When one is focused, you just do not sense the time passing by. If you happen to have a need of waiting for hours, a puzzle is going to make everything easier. Super effective!


Jigsaw puzzles are so welcomed by people during hard times, as during the Great Depression and COVID-19. History is repeating somehow, and we cannot travel around freely at the moment. If you miss the attractions on the other side of the world, then let’s quench your thirst with a puzzle now.

Besides, we have stuck with electronic devices too often, and everyone should have a break away every now and then. Good for your eyes too!

We are all living in a busy world, and often in need of a break. People have brought up the concept of work-life balance and finally realized that it is time to take better care of themselves. Before finding the perfect balance, do what you can to ease some pressure and have yourself enjoy life.

Let’s create/personalize your own jigsaw puzzles, and enjoy its great benefits. You deserve something better!