How Card Games Can Help Keep You Sharp

It sounds absurd, doesn’t it? That playing card games as a method of keeping fit is sensible.

One of the core similarities between virtually all card games is you play them whilst sitting down, not moving. Usually, there are snacks and beverages involved, which are all things not exactly conducive to fitness. Still, you can use card games to keep yourself fit, in some ways.

You won’t shed carbs by playing a hand of rummy; going all-in on poker won’t reduce your cholesterol. However, there are significant health benefits to playing games that test the mind, and studies have shown card games to be some of the most taxing forms of recreational pastimes you can undertake. Indeed, research conducted by the UW-Madison back in 2014 points to card games being linked to increased brain volume and improved memory, which means positive outcomes for other areas of your health.

The next time you are invited to a card game, you should remember these crucial health benefits and go all-in on the event.

Cognitive Function

In recent years, we’ve seen a huge rise in the number of brain-training apps and the like. Card games are a long-standing form of brain training, as they involve a lot of thinking, planning and plotting. For instance, when playing poker, you have to not only understand the rules but read your opponent as well as calculate pot odds and chances of winning a hand; it is a real workout. As for a hand of bridge, it can be as complex as actual brain surgery! Joking aside, academic research has proven that keeping your mind sharp has positive effects on your general health as you enter old age; you look to minimize the adverse effects of the aging process and remain in good shape for longer.


Patience is a virtue as the saying goes, but discipline and patience are great ways to stay fit as well. Many card games teach you discipline; one of the top tips for how to win at poker is remaining disciplined when playing a hand and learning to accept defeat. That skill, general discipline, can help you when on a health kick. If you stick to a plan or routine around a card table, why not stick to your health cycle, running every other day, for example? Why not show the discipline not to visit the fridge for that sugary treat, especially if you can do it when folding pocket fours because you know, in your heart, you’re only going to lose out. Patience is a virtue, but discipline can be a route to a healthier life.

Hand-Eye Coordination

One very physical aspect of playing cards is hand-eye coordination. You’re hiding your cards from a dealer in blackjack or shielding from other players in poker. You’re watching other cards drop; always aware of where yours are and how you’re reacting. As you get older, your hand-eye coordination deteriorates, and if you don’t keep on top of it, you’ll eventually find yourself losing it quickly. By practicing cards regularly, you can help keep yourself a little sharper and a little healthier. Also, good hand-eye coordination is imperative when exercising, even just running and maybe doing basic routines.

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