The gaming industry is forever at the receiving end of wide-spread criticism from parents, teachers and critics. Most games are ‘Violent’ with nothing but “blood, gore and battles’, it is often said. To a large extent, it’s true and the gaming industry does have an Achilles heel. However, did you ever think that Health and Fitness can be improved by playing games on modern gadgets like Xbox and Nintendo Wii? Could playing games be possibly therapeutic? Some research seems to suggest so:
It reduces pain: If you are wondering how playing video games can reduce pain, according to the American Pain Society, our focus diverts away from any seemingly bothering pain points on your body and makes you to forget about pain, at least temporarily. More specifically, the study reports that patients undergoing Chemotherapy reported a great level of stress reduction and lessened fear. It is believed that the brain releases endorphins during gaming that generally makes us feel good.
Learning: While it might seem totally counter-intuitive, games play a crucial role in learning and development. According to an article on cited.org, games fall into the category of “interactive multimedia” where learning occurs through user control. For instance, a game called “Discover Babylon” enables students to scour through an ancient Mesopotamian route and time just by using basic skills like mathematics, reading and writing. In yet another game called Chemsense, students can tinker with chemical compounds and experiment virtually. Most of the other modern games on Xbox, Play station and Personal computers might be termed as ‘violent’ by critics, but there’s a sense of spatial skills development, cognitive learning, adapting to various environments, etc.
Motivation: Games are intensely engaging and users usually experience a heightened state of excitement during play time. The scores, leader boards, team play, group wins, individual wins all provide a pumped up level of motivation for users – the very reason why games are so addictive. In fact, this addiction is a growing concern in the U.S alone with about 92%of kids under the age 18 play regularly. While the addiction part of the story is disconcerting indeed, when played in moderation games can really keep users’ energy levels up, bring out a sense of “fighting to win” and invoke an increased level of action among users.
A Sharp and alert Mind: Playing video games, online games or even massive multi-player games have a direct impact on the level of alertness of your mind. CBS news mentions a report released at the University of Rochester, gamers who play games like Grand Theft Auto and Counter-strike have better visual skills, faster cognition, have quick reflexes and have a better ability to process information quickly.
When we believe that anything in excess is bad, it holds good for the time spent on video games. While there are alcoholics, smokers and gluttons there are addicted gamers too. As it stands for most things, moderate use is acceptable and even beneficial in many cases; so are games.
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