5 Proven Ways Video Games Are Good For Your Health

By James Hawkins in Lists!
Monday, October 25, 2010 at 10:00 am
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There are studies that appear a few times a year claiming that video games will rot your brain, or your eyes, or your morals. And when they are published, the gaming community typically reacts negatively and moves on, gaming in full force. We don't like hearing how our beloved medium is bad for us.

Instead, why don't we take a look at the ways that video games have been proven -- or at least, have strongly suggested -- to help you. Gaming gets a bad rap for many things, and almost never noted for anything it does well. So we've got a list of ways that gaming is making you, quite literally, a better person.

Video Games Help Bolster Our Decision Making Skills

Video games, specifically action games can help us make quicker decisions with equal or greater accuracy, says this study by University of Rochester. Apparently, as we encounter dozens of different factors on screen, we are forced to look at many different options and outcomes for our actions. The study shows that, when quizzed, gamers that played 50 hours of Call of Duty and Unreal Tournament could answer questions 25% faster than those that didn't, and with the same level of accuracy.

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Video Games Can Help People Lose Weight

One of the main difficulties people have with losing weight is motivation, and that is why video games can succeed. Unlike running on a treadmill or jumping rope, weight loss video games actually turn aerobic activity into something fun. Dance, Dance Revolution has been used for weight-loss for years, and games are only getting more sophisticated. With the recent motion-sensor craze, games have become physical activities, and have proven to improve overall fitness. That is, if you actually make sure to play the games.

Video Games Can Relieve Stress, Improve Mood

Every gamer has had a rough day and taken out their frustrations on virtual bad guys. But the benefits of gaming go far beyond that. In a study by East Carolina University, different video games, particularly puzzle games, can improve happiness, help eliminate depression, and increase enthusiasm in ones' life.

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Video Games Can Make Adults Better Drivers

A University of Florida study shows that older adults who play video games can actually learn to drive better. It comes down to visual attention -- essentially, how sharp our visual reflexes are. In driving, as with gaming, series of events occur without warning and unexpectedly. Those who game, though, can pick up on these occurrences more quickly than those who don't, effectively giving them extra time to react.

Video Games Can Help Alleviate Pain

The British Journal of Medicine published an article claiming that video games could be used to manage, manipulate, and treat pain. And not like a stubbed toe. The article mentions examples of extreme pain that were helped through video games -- some were helped because of the distraction, some were strengthened through training, and some used it to defer their pain.

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