NOBODY disputes the benefits of exercise to keep in shape and enjoy the feel-good factor. But what about some mental gymnastics as well?

Recent studies claim that Bridge players remain mentally alert well into their eighties! For the young, playing bridge in a club environment can provide a rewarding alternative to computer activities. It is a useful skill – included as an option in the skills section of the Duke of Edinburgh award programme – and it could be a CV enhancer. A good memory is an asset, but the memory can be trained and Bridge is very good for that and for fostering powers of concentration – again at any age!

Never played before? Olicana Bridge Club in Ilkley offers lessons, allowing beginners to be integrated. Not competitive? Social Bridge is exactly that – and an opportunity to meet new people. No partner? No problem. Host sessions will find a match. Costs are minimal – you do not need any expensive equipment or designer kit. And forget boredom. No two games are the same as every deal poses a new problem – and problem-solving in Bridge can easily have a knock-on effect as a skill in real life.

Olicana Bridge Club is a thriving and friendly club, catering for players at all levels and offering both daytime and evening sessions. Classes are taught by qualified and experienced teachers and start in September each year. They cater for all levels, from complete beginners to experienced players who want to refine their game. The comfortable clubhouse, which has disabled access, is situated centrally in Ilkley and is just a few minutes’ walk from the train and bus stations and the central car park. For more information see the website or for more details about the classes on offer, contact Brian Davison on 0113 2589824 or email