The Health Benefits of Online Gaming

by Max Fragar
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Less than a decade ago it was widely accepted that video gaming, when not played in moderation was a bad thing for people’s physical and mental health.

However, in recent years a series of scientific studies have shown the opposite to be true.

Playing video games, particularly online can have a number of great benefits to your physical health and your mental well-being, contrary to what your parents may have told you when you were a kid!

In this article we’ll look at some of those benefits and tell you which games can provide you with the biggest boost for each benefit.

1. Spatial awareness & motor skills

We develop these skills as children but over time, especially if we do not regularly engage them, they begin to regress.

As children we practice our motor skills by playing games such as Lego and develop our spatial awareness running around, playing with other kids.

As adults it’s easy to neglect these two skills, especially if you don’t regularly play sports or engage in activities that force your brain to adapt to your surroundings.

If you want to boost these two skills without hitting the football field or playing with Lego, pick up a video game.

Almost every first-person shooter will put heavy demands on your spatial awareness and your motor skills.

You always have to be aware of your surroundings and be able to react to small movements in your peripheral vision.

In addition to this, your motor skills will be tested as you’ll have to respond to everything you see in a split second by choosing the right command on your controller.

(a) The best game to play

If you want to focus on improving these two skills and have access to a controller download Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and prepare to deploy to Verdansk.

This large-scale map is the scene of a 150-person Battle Royale where the last player/team standing wins.

To win, or even just survive, you’ll need to be fully aware of your surroundings as you calculate angles for shots and seek out cover.

In terms of spatial awareness and motor skills there really is no better workout than the hustle and bustle of Verdansk.

Practice improving your spatial awareness and motor skills and who knows?

Maybe one day you’ll be half as good as Vikkstar, but then again, maybe not.

2. Sociability

There are millions of people around the world who are categorised as chronically lonely,

which means they go a few days a week without any communication with another person at all.

This can be just as bad for your mental health as it can be for your physical well-being.

A study in 2010 found that living alone and having poor social connections are as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

It also increases the risk of dementia, heart problems and depression.

Gaming suffers from negative stereotypes when it comes to sociability, with many believing that gamers are reclusive loners sitting in their bedrooms and avoiding all social interaction.

That is simply not the case though, with more than half of gamers saying that they regularly play online with friends.

Even if you’re struggling to convince your existing friends to jump online and play some games with you,

you can always make new friends by playing online on your own and jumping into squads or co-op missions.

(a) The best game to play

If you’re looking for a great game to play that allows you to connect with new people, then why not play bingo?

The online variant is just as good, if not better, than its land-based counterpart.

What’s more, most online bingo sites have great chat facilities that will allow you to connect with like-minded individuals.

Recent research has even suggested that playing bingo is good for your health as it promotes sociability, independence and cognition abilities.

Many online games including Bingo now have chat rooms for players to socialise with each other. 

3. Memory

70,000 people a year in the UK are diagnosed with dementia, the disease that significantly impairs sufferers’ memory and cognitive powers.

It isn’t just a disease that affects the older generation either with estimates suggesting that 10% of sufferers are under the age of 65.

Dementia can affect anyone so it is important to do everything you can to exercise your brain and keep it in tip-top condition whilst you can.

Playing video games that test your cognition and memory skills can be a great way of staving off the risk of memory-loss related illnesses in the future.

In 2017 a randomized clinical trial found that playing video games could reduce your risk factor of developing dementia by 29%.

The old phrase “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it” couldn’t be more apt when it comes to your brain,

so hop on a video game and give your cerebral matter the workout it needs.

(a) The best game to play

Mobile games provide the best variety of games that can improve your memory.

There are literally thousands of brain training and puzzle games available on Android and iPhone that you can make use of.

The best are Words with Friends or World’s Biggest Sudoku. Both will force you to fully engage your brain to problem solve and test your powers of recall.

Even just an hour of these games a day can reduce your risk of developing dementia dramatically, so what are you waiting for? 

In summary

Video games are not as bad as your parents or the mainstream media would have you believe,

in fact, they can be incredibly beneficial to your physical and mental well-being.

The most important thing to remember though is that playing games should be fun.

Not every game discussed in this article will be to everyone’s taste, so don’t be put off if they don’t appeal to you.

Have a look around and find a game that takes your fancy and suits what you’re looking for.


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