Every now and again a scientific discovery comes along that is counter-intuitive. The existence of dark matter (invisible matter that nevertheless exists) for example, or the fact that, supposedly, in moderate amounts alcohol can be good for you. One such discovery is that gaming has a wide range of health benefits. So, what are they?
Firstly, gaming can improve your cognitive health. Studies have shown that gaming can increase the mass of grey matter in your brain, particularly in areas responsible for a certain skill such as spatial awareness and planning. Likewise, gaming is said to improve memory, particularly if you play certain genres of game. It can also improve your hand-eye coordination, due to the fact that, when you play video games, your brain is engaging in a complex interplay with your hands and your eyes. There are also thoughts that gaming could reduce the rate of cognitive decline in the elderly, and thus it may have applications I elderly care and social care more generally.
Secondly, gaming can improve recovery rates in two main areas: after trauma and following surgery. Research into these areas showed that those who had faced a traumatic event were less likely to face flashbacks if they had played video games than those that had not.
Thirdly, there are now ways in which gaming can improve your cardiovascular health, particularly as games become more sophisticated. Consoles such as the Nintendo Wii, with its titles such as Wii Fit and Wii Tennis, now allow you to interact with the game using your body, meaning that you can use games to improve your physique, your heart health, and your general fitness. Though this is to some extent an industry in its infancy, what some call Exergaming is a burgeoning industry with many possibilities.
To find out more about the cognitive and other health benefits of gaming, see the infographic below the experts at Computer Planet.