Playing Bridge and the Secret to Longevity
A card game that has been around for centuries, it’s no wonder there are still bridge enthusiasts and clubs across the globe. But, what about this ‘brain game’ is so stimulating and challenging that it’s been kept so popular all this time? 93-year-old bridge enthusiast, Maggy Simony, says that bridge is just as strategic and mentally-challenging as a game of chess, but it’s also a social game, which we all know staying socially connected is linked to healthy aging. Bridge requires communication skills with your partner and is said to be a ‘synergistic combination of the strategic and social aspects,’ which is why it’s such a draw for so many people across the nation, especially seniors.
Simony is convinced that bridge is among the reasons she has aged well for so long, and she is only one of the many examples of bridge players enjoying remarkable longevity. “Taking up bridge is one of the best life decisions I ever made…I won’t be satisfied until learning to play bridge is included in every article on how to age well,” she said. In the world of bridge, there is social bridge and competitive bridge, which are quite different. Competitive bridge players typically play duplicate bridge, which is for those who enjoy the mastery and victory rather than playing in a living room over horderves, and the rules are modified to minimize the element of chance.
Many senior living communities have a bridge club that meets weekly and has become a social regiment for residents. Having a goal of trying to always ‘improve your bridge game’ is a great way to stay socially engaged and connected and is a healthy way to work on ‘bettering yourself,’ which could favorably influence the longevity and vitality of bridge players nationwide! After all, neurologist Dr. Claudia Kawas says that bridge players are some of the “most successful agers on earth,” and that it is “very important to use your brain, to keep challenging your mind, but all mental activities may not be equal. We’re seeing some evidence that a social component may be crucial,” which is why bridge is the perfect choice for all, no matter what stage of retirement or seniorhood you are in.
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