Health can be defined in a number of ways. Some people see health as the absence of illness, whilst others think of health as being about a feeling of wellness and vitality. However, it can be argued that health is about three things:
- Not having a recognized illness
- Being physically well
- Having a healthy mind
As it turns out, playing video games can help in all of these three areas.
Firstly, games have been used in trials to help people recover from illness. What did they show? Well, they showed that games can help people recover from illness, surgery or trauma more quickly. In the case of trauma, they can reduce the incidence of flashbacks to the traumatic event. Gaming has also been used in therapy for chronic illnesses such as Parkinson’s with some success.
Secondly, there is a relatively recent gaming genre called exergaming. In exergames, people use their bodies and movements to control the games, a la the Nintendo Wii. Recognized authorities such as the National Institute of Health have been full of praise for how exergames exponentially increase activity levels, and how they could be used in the fight against modern ailments such as obesity.
Finally, games can have a multitude of cognitive benefits, and they have been used in treating mental health conditions. For example, studies have shown that gaming can be used in treating very serious psychological problems such as PTSD with success. Gaming also has a number of very significant cognitive benefits, such as genuine strengthening of the brain areas associated with spatial awareness and planning amongst others (this is conclusive, as Magnetic Resonance Imagery has shown this), and benefits to memory and focus.
It would be churlish of us to suggest that if you want to be healthy then you should play video games. However, it wouldn’t hurt to try. Gaming is fun!
To tell you more about the benefits of video games, our partners at Computer Planet have prepared the below infographic: