What is one of the oldest, most popular, and most accessible games you can find?

If you guessed “crossword puzzles,” you’re right, and you’re one step closer to preserving your brain health.

Activities that stimulate cognition, or “brain-training,” are linked with reduced risk of developing dementia. A 2014 study found that participating in crossword puzzles delayed the onset of memory loss by a little over 2.5 years.

It’s believed that crossword puzzles can improve cognitive reserve, your brain’s ability to resist damage and injury. Simply put, this type of brain training can make your brain stronger and more resistant to any brain changes that are associated with dementia. This resistance can translate to delaying the onset of cognitive decline or memory loss.

If you’re intimidated by crossword puzzles, just know that completing a crossword is a learned skill, and one you can learn at any time. Completing a crossword puzzle is as simple as visiting the local library, book store, or magazine stand. Most newspapers and magazines contain crosswords. They are also easy to find in affordable books and many are free to access online.