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How games benefit your health

Posted by Jason on May 9, 2015 at 6:10 AM


Get Healthy by Gaming 



If you are a huge gamer, you may already be healthier than your non-gaming friends. Of course, diet and exercise aside, there are many ways that active gamers have been proven to benefit from their healthy dose of video games. With multiple scientific studies now supporting a wide array of health benefits, it is undeniable that gaming should be part of your healthy lifestyle. This article explores the great ways, Doom, Super Mario Bros or your favorite Indie game has helped your health.


Increase the Gray Stuff


A German research study recently concluded that by playing video games for a mere 30 minutes a day gave rise to an increase in the gray matter in the right prefrontal cortex and cerebellum. These areas are responsible for fine motor skills in your hands, memory formation, strategic planning and spatial navigation. The research draws connections with preschoolers improving their fine motor skills, and preventing neural degenerative diseases in the elderly such as Alzheimer's. So not only do video games increase your overall brain activity, but they can train specific parts of your brain to be healthier.


Stretch your Brain


Literally, gaming is like stretching exercises but for your brain according to recent research. When you think of intelligence, most scientists measuring it refer to a quantifiable brain flexibility that allows certain individuals to be cognitively flexible. If you thought that your recent dose of Starcraft or other strategy RPG was making you smart; you are right! Start your brain stretches today.


The Fountain of Youth


The problem with the human body is that it withers and dies, in some cases the brain much more prematurely than your physical form. A recent study by the University of Iowa showed that seniors that played 10 hours of a specific game improved their brain function delaying the decline of their brain function by up to seven years. Essentially many games today, whether specifically designed for the purpose or not are complex and require cognitive energy. Essentially, video games keep your brain young and healthy, just as exercise does for your body; exercise what's that?


Become a Bookworm


Are you restless, listless and have the attention span of a flea? Or maybe you have a learning disability like dyslexia? In either case new research shows that by playing fast action games actually help children become better readers. They were able to stay on task longer with fewer reading errors. The action-packed first person shooter games they were playing made them hold their attention span on a specific task with high cognitive function and transferred when they were then required to read a book.


Ensure your Surgeon is a Gamer


If you are having surgery that requires a laparoscopy or assisted devices with a camera, you may be better getting a high-schooler to do your surgery. High school sophomores recently out-performed surgeons in a virtual surgery simulator because of their gaming skills. Other research has proved that surgeons that play video games have a lower rate of errors in their surgeries as a result. Of course having the best surgeon is great for your health.


Take Two & Call Me in the Morning


Most times when you get a pain in the neck, you do not reach for a Wii-mote. Yet it might be time to start gaming when you are in pain. With research showing that a healthy dose of gamer-itis can cure your pain, you may want to leave the Tylenol and pick up your favorite game console instead. The dedicated focus it takes to play games ensures that you are not focusing on the pain, an actual technique for pain management specialists to prescribe. As well the release of the happy chemical endorphin helps relieve pain through numbing your discomfort.


Designer Gazes


Dreaded night-glare is a vision condition that affects a significant portion of middle-aged people and older. However, with action packed gaming as your life's sidekick you can keep your spectacles for mere show. Forget your strategy or builder games though, this vision correction requires the fast pace of a first person shooter. Essentially by exercising your eyes to focus on specific targets and train your peripheral vision you can help yourself avoid or delay your vision degeneration.


Real Life Counsel


Feeling down? Need a pick me up? A large dose of your favorite video game is exactly what the doctor ordered. Feelings of loneliness and depression have been lessened by playing a mere 1-2 hours a day of a video game for seniors. For teens in New Zealand a specifically designed game help them combat their depression with an educational game exploring their condition, ensuring a 44% recovery rate from depression compared with only 26% in the control group. Other studies have proven that stress and anxiety disorders can also be lessened by a good dose of gaming because of their ability to relieve stress and provide a positive outlet for aggression.


A Stroke of Genius


Recovering from a stroke can be difficult to nigh on impossible. However a researcher at the Tel Aviv University turned to video games to increase stroke victim participation rates in rehabilitation exercises. Since the games were fun and directed specific movements, participants not only were more than happy to increase their movements, but it provided better directed movements for recovery. Higher participation rates with more movements per session resulted in much higher success rates for recovery and participation.


Be healthy is a physical state, but more and more health professionals are coming to realize that it is way more affected by a person's state of mind. When you are happy and physically healthy, you are in fact by all accounts "healthy." This healthy state can be significantly increased in several key areas by playing video games.


Video games increase higher brain functions dealing with cognition, improve memory and spatial awareness, trains your eyes for better sight, relieves pain, helps rehabilitate and improve fine and gross motor skills, helps those with depression, anxiety or stress to overcome it, and helps many focus their energy and improve their mental focus for tasks. This of course does not even discuss the physical benefits of consoles that have physical fitness games and accessories that can help you get physically fit!

Categories: Gaming and other topics

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