Have you ever thought of video games as just an entertainment pastime with no real value and causes tons of health detriments? This post is about turning that intuition around and talking about how playing video games is actually good for your health.
As much as video games are a lot of fun and all, they have been taken to be creations of the devil made for melting the brains of young people. Since humans always find something to blame when there’s a problem (my mom once said my stomach ache was caused by my attention to my phone) and video games have been easy to point at.
Games have also been blamed for reclusiveness, health problems, and especially, violence. These however, are quite untrue and have little scientific evidences to back all of that, so… there.
Here in this post, I’m going to give a couple of benefits of playing video games – all based on scientific research and personal experiences of course (wink)
Video games (especially 3D) have rich environments and engaging experiences that provide the brain with significant stimulation that enhances its flexibility, attention payment, and cognition, critical thinking, and problem solving.
For some reason, studies have shown that playing video games physically increases brain matter in parts responsible for memory formation, spatial orientation, and strategic planning.
Think about the amount of instructions, rules, controls, and button combinations gamers are required to remember throughout a game. Next time you see a Mortal Kombat player, respect that dude because the button combos for that game are out of this world.
Physical Health Benefit.
Apart from working your mind, some games like Just Dance and Nintendo Wii are perfect examples of games that require physical activity, improving posture, increasing skill, and serving as workout to help the player shed weight.
Also, I for one, and my friends have been motivated to physically go play basketball and football after playing NBA and Pro Evolution Soccer for a while and even though I’ve never tried it, I’ve always wanted to learn to skate after playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.
Reducing Chronic Pain.
I’m not saying video games work like pain relief drugs, but in a way, that’s what I’m saying. Video games, especially Virtual Reality games effectively reduce pain caused by illnesses, accidents, and medical procedures.
People undergoing chemotherapy and other serious treatments considerably have less fear and anxiety while engrossed in a virtual video gaming environment since their brain’s spotlight is distracted and isn’t focused on the game.
Gaming also generally causes greater increase in endorphins in the brain, making a person happier and more comfortable.
Actual Medical Treatment.
Video games have been used as therapy for kids with chronic diseases like dyslexia, depression autism, Parkinson’s disease, etc. Children who played more games regularly improved significantly in areas of resilience, empowerment, and fighting spirit.
Also, patients with stroke have been found to recover in many aspects over a period of playing video games. They showed steady improvement in hand and arm strength, doubling their movements each session and steering them to achieve goals rather than just moving. Also, gaming has been known to increase improve spatial attention, focus, and peripheral vision.
Even surgeons who play more video games make 32% less errors than those who don’t.
As much as gamers have been known to be antisocial hermits, they actually do tend to make a lot of friends in the gaming community both online and offline. It’s mutual interest pulling them together. With how immersive online games are at the moment, even antisocial people get a lot of social connections with other users they meet and sometimes team up with in the virtual world, some of which (a few times) leads to real life connections.
Video games also improve communication skills and make players less awkward since multiplayer games need precise communication.
Just like kids see everyone as a potential playmate, put people in an environment where they have to play together to achieve a goal, colour, race, language, and social status get put aside.
Leadership skills and Teamwork
Many, if not all games, are goal-oriented. A lot, require teamwork among multiplayers to achieve those goals and many require someone taking up a leadership position on the team while other players carry out their roles and focus on the team’s goal rather that wanting to go solo and be a badass. This can be seen in games like Call of Duty, PUBG, and DOTA where the force of a good team is critical to achieving success.
Emotional Health Boost.
Video games help to control your emotions. One can’t even argue that can we?
Gamers regulate positive and negative emotions all the time. After a player’s mind develops simulations of complicated systems, he places himself in these intricate systems and practices how to overcome the specific challenges presented by the system. Accomplishing the goals in these challenges is of the utmost importance to the player. Also, since the game is a virtual environment, there are no negative actions that can be carried out that have any physical effect on anyone or the environment.
Pharmacies and doctors can prescribe a lot of products to help curb physical and mental cravings like smoking and overfeeding. Immersive and multiplayer gameplay distracts the mind and body enough for it to not remember it has to do something else. Believe me, you wouldn’t remember to smoke what you don’t want to if you had your girlfriend (or boyfriend) over and you guys are playing Rocket League or Blur or something. YES. DO IT.
Creativity, Critical Thinking, and Problem Solving.
Creativity is the use of one’s imagination to create something or make something happen.
Gamers are always posed with challenges ranging from simple to insane all the time. Yet, they find ways to rise above these challenges every time. They try different approaches and improvise over and over till they achieve what they want.
Games have new information every second and most of the time, players are required to react to them and take the correct action immediately.
Strategy gamers also know how to manage information and optimise resources – sometimes, in real time to solve problems.
What better personality to have in real life situations like home and work than this? Huh?
For most games that anyone plays, there’s something new to be learned. With all the action and fast pace, games come with tons of information, even simple games like Candy Crush teach people to learn to achieve the most effect with the least possible number of actions. Then getting to big games like BattleField, God of War, Far Cry or Sekiro, rich in historical and cultural information and futuristic games teaching about science and technology. I’ve learned more about sports player from video games than I have from watching them play in real life. I’ve also learned about a lot of cars and their specs from playing Need For Speed over and over again. And no matter the amount of strategy in learn over time playing, Age of Empires and Clash of Clans, I still can’t beat a computer at Chess, but I’ll get there. Getting children books and maps related to games they play could really fascinate them to learn more for a long time.
- Obviously, gaming improves your hand-eye coordination.
- Scientists also believe gaming improves your eyes. I believe them.
- Games reduce stress.
- Helps to treat depression.etc.
The study of video games and their effects on us is still a new concept and there’s still plenty of research to be done.
However, feel free to show this list to your family, friends, colleagues and bosses that they may see that they can’t just keep blaming video games for obesity and antisocial behavior.
Also feel free to play games next time you’re sick and can’t go to work.
Finally, this isn’t a license to play games all day and night without rest and food and sleep. I didn’t say that, Too much of everything is bad.