Want to Get Healthier? Play More Video Games!

Want to Get Healthier? Play More Video Games!

Want to Get Healthier? Play More Video Games!

In 2013, the average American gamer aged 13 or older spent 6.3 hours a week playing video games. It is believed that this number has increased since then. Video games can be great fun, but they often get a bad rap. For example, violent behaviors, poor academic outcomes, and sedentary lifestyle are often attributed to excessive video game playing. The key word in that statement is excessive. It goes without saying that too much of anything can be detrimental, and it is true that if not played responsibly, video games can have harmful effects on our overall functioning. However, when played in moderation, video games can also have surprising health benefits. Let’s take a look at some of those benefits.

Blog57_GetHealthierPlayVideoGames_bettervision-300x200 Want to Get Healthier? Play More Video Games!Better Vision

Screen time is bad for your eyes, isn’t it? To some extent, yes. But video game playing is actually associated with improved vision. A study found that experienced gamers who played first-person shooter games showed improvement in what’s called contrast sensitivity function—the ability to perceive changes in shades of grey against a colored backdrop. Contrast sensitivity function is beneficial for driving at night. Another study found that seniors with cataracts who played first-person shooter games for a month had an easier time reading small print and recognize faces. First-person shooter games also require players to move their eyes quickly to track objects and react to sudden events.

Blog57_GetHealthierPlayVideoGames_exercise-300x200 Want to Get Healthier? Play More Video Games!Increased Motivation to Exercise

Yes, another surprising benefit. If you’re feeling too lazy to exercise, you might try exercising virtually first. According to research conducted by the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University, participants who watched virtual avatars of themselves running around and exercising reported more confidence in their ability to get in shape and then exercised for an hour longer than participants whose avatars were not physically active. It is thought that this is because the players could see the benefits of physical activity in their avatars right away, providing an “instant gratification” of sorts. Furthermore, playing active games like Wii Fit and Dance Dance Revolution actually require you to exercise as you play.

Blog57_GetHealthierPlayVideoGames_bettermood-300x200 Want to Get Healthier? Play More Video Games!Reduced Depression and Anxiety

Playing video games increases the amount of dopamine—also known as your “feel-good neurotransmitter”—in your brain. In other words, playing video games helps you feel better and puts you in a better mood. Oftentimes video games provide a much-needed distraction from whatever struggles you might be experiencing and allow you to shift your mental focus in order to improve your mindset. A study found that playing games for just 20 minutes can increase heart-rate variability, which is linked to reduced stress, and decreased frontal alpha brain ways, which is linked to a better mood. Video games allow you the opportunity to try new strategies to accomplish your goal, which builds resilience, optimism, and self-efficacy, in turn reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. What’s more is that contrary to the stereotypes often portrayed in the media, playing video games can actually encourage you to be more social. Studies have linked playing video games with more pro-social behavior. There are also several online and in-person gaming communities that bring people together through their shared affinity for video games. Having a strong social support network is an important buffer against anxiety and depression symptoms.

Blog57_GetHealthierPlayVideoGames_painrelief-300x200 Want to Get Healthier? Play More Video Games!Pain Relief

As mentioned above, playing video games forces you to shift your mental focus to the task at hand by engaging all of your senses, which can help you take your focus away from whatever pain you are feeling. One study examining burn patients found that those participants engaged in video games were better able to ignore their physical pain.

Better Balance and Reflexes

A study found that seniors who played computer games had better balance and improved gait than those who did not. This helped them to stand up and walk faster and avoid falling and getting injured.

Blog57_GetHealthierPlayVideoGames_decreasedaging-300x200 Want to Get Healthier? Play More Video Games!Slowed Aging

Playing video games engages so many of your cognitive facilities that they can play a role in preventing cognitive decline and protecting against such diseases as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Video game playing is associated with larger brain matter, improved memory, improved focus and attention, and improved hand-eye coordination, all of which will be explored in greater detail in an upcoming blog on the cognitive benefits of video games.

Convinced that it’s time to get your game on and want to learn more? Chat with our gaming Providers here. Or want to share or instill your love for video games in others? Sign up and post a Provider box of your own! Either way, the perfect place to do it is Konversai—the world’s greatest online platform for sharing any and all human knowledge sharing. Konversai connects providers of knowledge with seekers of knowledge on any topic of interest through one-on-one live video conversations. The platform gives knowledge providers the opportunity to make extra money sharing their passions, skills, and experiences with others on their own time and from the comfort of their home and knowledge seekers the opportunity to receive tailored, personalized information on exactly what they’re looking to learn from an actual human being. All users on Konversai are encouraged to be both knowledge providers and knowledge seekers on any and as many topics as they wish, be it gaming, technology, health and fitness, languages, academics, makeup, travel, food and cooking, books, musical instruments, or something else entirely—no matter how commonplace or obscure. Any and all knowledge, skills, and experiences have value on Konversai. The only limit is your imagination. Get in on being part of this fast-growing community by signing up now!

By Pavita Singh


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