When many think of the game of bridge, they think of smoky living rooms filled with card tables and friends of their parents and grandparents. Today, bridge has a following of more than 25 million people in the United States according to the American Contract Bridge League and is played in homes, bridge clubs and country clubs across the country. Even more, approximately 50 million, are at least familiar with the game or have played before.
Not all of these players are in their twilight years either. Facebook fan clubs promoting the game of bridge are filled with younger players and Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have invested $1 million in rejuvenating the game through a program in public schools.
A 2006 study performed by Dr. Christopher Shaw, a researcher from Carlinville, ILL, found that children who play bridge perform significantly better on standardized tests than their non bridge playing counterparts — increasing scores across all five core subjects areas with an astounding 39.11% increase in science.
Bridge can improve your physical health for older adults as well. Research has shown that a game of bridge can even boost your immune system. By stimulating the brain cortex, bridge-playing activity produces higher numbers of the white blood cells that fight disease. Other studies have found that people who play bridge regularly are 2½ times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.If you’re neither young, nor at risk of Dementia, there are still benefits.
Hmmm? Who knew?
Why play bridge?
Bridge exercises both sides of your brain. Bridge is one of the few games that stimulates both the left and right sides of your brain. Every time you play, you use — and improve — your skills in communication, logic, math, memory, visualization and psychology. It’s a unique type of mental workout that is both relaxing and invigorating, and that can’t be duplicated by other leisure or work-related activities.
Bridge stimulates the brain. Bridge is one of the best ways to practice the “use it or lose it” advice for maintaining mental sharpness in older age. Research has shown that regular bridge playing improves reasoning skills and long- and short-term memory. You’ll feel the neurons firing not only while you play, but long after. Many players say that hours after a bridge game, they still feel mentally alert and energized, similar to the “high” that long-distance runners experience after a race.
Bridge can be a lifelong pursuit. Learning to play well takes time and effort, and the game is impossible to master. No matter how many years you play, you’ll always find new challenges, and the learning process will never end. Bridge also caters to all physical conditions and disabilities, so players can actively pursue their pastime throughout their entire lives.
Bridge will never bore you. There are more than 750 trillion possible hands, so you’ll see something new every time you play ,each hand takes just five to ten minutes to play before you move on to the next deal .
Bridge is social. A game of bridge involves communication and cooperation with your partner and interaction with your opponents. There’s a special camaraderie among bridge players that develops from the social setting and the game’s emphasis on teamwork, ethics and sportsmanship.
Bridge is a bargain. All you need for a bridge game is a deck of cards and three other people. If you have a computer, you don’t even need the cards or the people.
Bridge is fun. Of all the reasons to learn the game, the most important is that it’s just fun to play. It offers the suspense of poker, the cerebral qualities of chess and the excitement of athletic sports, all in a sociable setting where you’re a participant, not just a spectator. Every session allows you to test yourself and experience the feeling of accomplishment when you find a successful bid or play.
That’s what keeps people coming back to the bridge table, and it’s why bridge will always be the world’s most popular card game.
Researched by KATIA C. ROWLANDS – STOTT PILATES INSTRUCTOR & PERSONAL TRAINER – 0825134256