Let’s be honest, the media often gets a bad rap: social media platforms are criticized for being highlight reels, news networks are condemned for disseminating false or disheartening news, and movies as well as TV shows and video games are blamed for provoking violent behavior amongst viewers/users. But what about the good? We tend to focus on the negative, and there is clearly no exception here. That being said, it’s important that we do acknowledge the good and make it a point to look at the positive. So, back to that ever-important question: what about the good? There are a multitude of benefits and plus sides, if you will, that come with media—but we’re going to focus on a lesser known perk. Or a little something called exergaming, a fairly new approach to playing video games as well as working out, which Marcus Clarke from Computer Planet will tell you all about:
“Lots of things can help you to get fit—these things include going to the gym, cycling, hiking, and walking in the hills. However, one thing that you might not know is that there is some evidence that playing video games can get you fit! So, how is this?
There is a relatively new trend in gaming, which is called exergaming. Exergaming involves playing games that are played using your body, or in some way involve cardiovascular exercise. For example, Wii Fit and dancing games such as Just Dance are examples of exergaming. These games provide an immense opportunity to improve the health of those who live sedentary lifestyles, and others. The British Medical Journal concurs, saying that those who took part in a piece of research on exergaming expended more energy and exercised with more intensity than would have been the case. Thus, they determined that ‘exergaming can be an innovative way of enjoyable high-intensity training.’
Gaming can therefore have an amazing effect on your physical health and also, as a result, on your mental health. The National Institute of Health says that exercise, and therefore, exergaming, is not utilized enough as treatment for mental health problems. They cite 10 separate ways in which exercise can facilitate good mental health, and even draw attention to studies that show that exercise can have a benefit even on very serious mental health disorders like Schizophrenia. Perhaps in the future, doctors may prescribe a little exergaming, four times a day! In addition, gaming can help keep your body in good shape in other ways. Research has shown, for example, that gaming can help you recover after an accident or traumatic event, or even if you have recently undergone surgery. In this way, gaming can help your body and wellbeing recover when you have been at a low ebb.
Another form of training that gaming can give you is brain training. Gaming can have a multitude of positive effects on your cognitive health. For example, gaming can actually strengthen and increase grey matter in the areas in your brain associated with skills such as spatial awareness. In simpler terms, gaming can make your brain bigger. We asked in the title of this piece, ‘How can gaming benefit you?’ The answer? It can work out your body, improve your wellbeing, boost your brain power, and increase your mental wellbeing. What’s not to like?!
To find out more about the ways in which gaming can improve your health, see the infographic below from Computer Planet.”