What is health, could it be gaming? For me, health involves a sense of physical wellbeing, a feeling of brain power and cognitive equilibrium, and psychological wellness. Coincidentally, it seems that gaming can provide advantages in these three areas. How is this?
The Nintendo Wii brought the trend of games that you play by manipulating the action with your body into the mainstream. Games such as Wii Fit, dance games, and the Xbox Connect (collectively known as exergaming) can improve your physical health.
They do this by helping you to develop your cardiovascular fitness and provide an antithesis to the current trend. This is particularly the case amongst the young, towards a more sedentary lifestyle. The National Institute of Health say this type of gaming provides an exciting opportunity for improving health, and possibly fighting obesity in society.
More Benefits of Gaming
Gaming can also have a lot of cognitive benefits. For example, research has shown that certain areas of the brain, for example those responsible for spatial awareness and planning, are actually strengthened by gaming. As well as this, gaming may be able to improve memory, particularly if you play 3D platform games. It could also be helpful in improving the symptoms of attention disorders such as ADHD, as gaming aids in concentration.
Video games can also promote psychological wellbeing. For example, studies have shown that gaming can provide a release from stress and anxiety by promoting a sense of catharsis (this is easy to understand if you are a gamer!).
Likewise, researchers have studied the effects of playing video games on the elderly, particularly those who are in retirement communities. They found that, not only did it reduce their rate of cognitive decline, and help to build social connections, it also helped to build a subjective sense of wellbeing.
Thus, we can see that gaming can have quite profound effects on your health. What is health, could it be gaming? What are you waiting for? Get playing! To find out more about the health benefits of gaming, see the infographic below from our friends at Computer Planet.