Keeping yourself healthy is important now more than ever. Our world is filled with junk food, sugary snacks, and distractions keeping us from exercising. And the pandemic keeping us indoors for a few years has definitely increased obesity rates.
It is all too easy to neglect your physical and mental health. And it can be very difficult to get yourself in the right mindset to make positive change. But did you know that gaming can actually be used to improve your overall health? That’s right, the sport that a majority of the world considers unhealthy can actually be really good for both your physical and mental health. But how? Let’s break it down.
Gaming as Physical Exercise
For the longest time gaming was unhealthy in the physical sense. Aside from Dance Dance Revolution, most games involved a lot of stationary sitting down for long hours. It’s no wonder the negative stigma started to build up around gaming. But something changed in 2006 with the release of the Nintendo Wii. The first major motion controller console aimed to get gamers moving while playing. And this started a trend of healthy gaming.
Wii Sports was a major success. It got players engaging in healthy activity while enjoying the pleasures of gaming. And other gaming companies started following suit. Microsoft released the Kinect. Sony released the Playstation Move. And now with the introduction of VR headsets, gaming is healthier than ever before. Many people now use gaming as their daily form of exercise.
Gaming Improves Reaction Time and Critical Thinking
It isn’t just your physical health that can be improved by gaming. Games have been proven to aid in the development of reaction time and improve your critical thinking skills. Some developmental specialists are even suggesting games be played with your children to help improve these skills as they grow.
Puzzle games have been a popular genre in the gaming world for years. Nintendo even took a swing at making games designed to help improve cognition in the form of brain training. A game series that was so successful it was used to help treat those with dementia. The professor Layton puzzle series is a fantastic way to engage your logic while also taking part in a fantastic stories series.
Reaction-based games such as Beat Saber are great ways to improve hand-eye coordination. This is especially useful for anyone working in sports or a job that needs perfect coordination such as the medical field. Plus they are often a great workout to boot. These games have also been used in physical therapy programs to help people suffering from motor degeneration or those in recovery from a major accident. They are a great way to help rebuild motor control.
Games Can Help Combat Mental Health Issues
Awareness of mental health issues has been moved into the public eye more than ever before. No longer do we as a society simply write off these issues. We know now that these illnesses can be devastating and require the same care and attention as regular physical ailments.
As our awareness has grown we have also found new and innovative ways to help people combat these issues. And one of the more successful methods being employed is the use of video games. That’s right, gaming is being used by therapists and mental health specialists to help combat depression, anxiety, and PTSD. For a few key reasons.
Firstly, gaming is a form of escapism that lets people take a break from the harsh realities of the real world. It lets people unwind and relax. Some more relaxing games are being used to help people who suffer from PTSD by letting them engage in immersion therapy. Moving around VR tranquil landscapes or letting them work through their issues in a safe environment.
For anxiety, the social aspect of gaming has been massively helpful. People who struggle to interact with others in real life have found socializing online very helpful. Games like Fortnite have been particularly popular in creating safe social spaces for gamers. Therapists have advocated people make use of gaming cheats if they struggle to pass the skill threshold. I have always been a fan of cheats for Fortnite as it allows me to play with my friends without having to spend countless hours grinding to get better at the game. This leads us nicely into the next point.
Gaming Accesabillity Improve Confidence
Gaming used to be very inaccessible back in the day. When it was a niche hobby it was a mark of pride and honor for those gamers who were able to overcome the challenge. And some modern games still keep to this classic trend, such as the Souls series.
But overall, as gaming moved into the mainstream it slowly became more accessible. And the knock-on effect of this is the great sense of achievement that comes with beating a game. A boost in personal confidence is great for your health. It released endorphins that improve your mood and motivate you. There has been a big debate lately about if cheats should be allowed in games to allow differently-abled gamers to still enjoy the gaming experience like everyone else.
This links in nicely to the idea of using games to help combat mental health issues. Overcoming a challenge can provide a sense of purpose for those who feel like they have nothing. It might seem shallow to some. But for others, it can mean everything.