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 nonbridge playing counterparts — increasing scores across all five core subjects areas with an astounding 39.11% increase in science.
The game has benefits for older adults as well. Over the years, several research studies released by Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University found that “Playing chess, bridge or a musical instrument significantly lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.”
If you’re neither young, nor at risk of Dementia, there are still benefits. A Nov. 2000 study by a University of California, Berkeley researcher, Marian Cleeves Diamond, found that playing contract bridge leaves people with higher numbers of immune cells.
Hmmm? Who knew?