Health drama: Why The Queen’s Gambit and other lockdown hits can be good for us

The various coronavirus lockdowns may have had one advantage at least – the opportunity to get stuck into some seriously binge-worthy boxsets.

In 2020, UK adults spent nearly a third of their waking hours href=””>watching TV or online videos.

However, spending hours on the couch every day will not do any good for your health. Your well-being could be given an unexpected boost by watching your favorite Netflix star.

It doesn’t matter if you were occupied by the intellectual Queen’s Gambit or the saucy Bridgerton, it’s possible to adopt the healthy habits of the protagonists.

“The Queen’s Gambit”

Based on a book by the same name, The Queen’s Gambit was reportedly watched by 62 million households in its first 28 days. It is now one of Netflix’s most-watched series.

As Beth Harmon rises through the pro circuit, she is a troubled orphan who becomes a chess prodigy. The show was broadcast and Google searches for chess-related terms doubled. “How to play chess?” reached a nine-year high.

“Chess is a complex game that involves planning ahead and seeing problems from another’s point of view to anticipate your opponent’s moves,” Dr Sarah Brewer, medical director of Healthspan, told Yahoo UK.

Chess can also improve memory and pattern recognition, as well as focus attention and problem-solving. Chess seems to increase cognitive performance and critical thinking skills.

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In 2015, scientists from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences found professional chess players had significantly better “memory function” than members of the public, which was put down to “strengthening cognitive performances due to playing chess for a long time”.