Can Video Games Be Good for Your Health?

Could it be those kids knew best all along?

Seniors Playing Video Games

Recent studies in the US and abroad suggest playing video games can provide health benefits to “gamers.”

A University of Illinois study in 2008 found adults in their 60s showed increased mental sharpness and memory as a result of playing certain video games. The study also suggests cognitive and memory tasks used in playing the games can lead to improvement that carries over into real life.

A study at Tohoku University in Japan seems to say the same thing. Participants assigned to play certain video games for a brief period five days a week showed improved cognitive skills in several areas.

And you thought video games turned people into zombies!

Far from it, according to the studies. In fact, there are actually games (including Brain Age) designed to improve various cognitive abilities.

Some seniors may be unaware that video games are frequently used in children’s education to build and reinforce various motor and cognitive skills. Few people question the value of these games in helping young people develop quick, sharp minds. If it works for them, why shouldn’t it work for anyone else?

A study at North Carolina’s Elon University in 2010 even suggests there are physical benefits seniors can gain from playing video games. While some seniors may struggle to play certain sports in the traditional way, playing those same sports in a virtual manner can yield many of the same benefits.

The Elon study suggests video sports and physical activity games help increase strength and balance.

That seems to make sense because the balance and muscles used in swinging a tennis racket or golf club mirror those used in swinging a virtual racket or club.

Other benefits of playing such sports games are obvious. First, you don’t have to book a court or make a golf course reservation. The social aspect of playing the video version of a sport may be even better than that of the “real thing,” as almost everyone will be glad to participate, and the activity—you never have to go for a long walk or ride between shots—can be a lot more compressed. You can play a wide variety of games, one right after the other, and there’s almost certain to be something for everyone.

The best thing, perhaps, is that no one is likely to get injured playing a virtual game. You can be sure that virtual boxing is a lot safer than the real thing.

So, yes, maybe those kids got it right. We may have some catching up to do, but why not just roll up our sleeves and get ready to beat them at their own games—while reaping the same benefits they do?

Taking up video games may well be a great move for the sake of your mental and physical health. Another great move is depending on MedicareMall for information about Medicare supplement plans designed to protect you against the gaps in Medicare coverage. Contact us now and one of our expert agents will help you find the Medigap plan that’s best suited to your budget, medical history, and active lifestyle.

Can Video Games Be Good for Your Health? © 2012


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