We’ve Got Good (Healthy) News For Video Game Buffs

We hear all the time about how video games are making our children ill. They’re unhealthy and things to be avoided. We need to limit our time playing them to a bare minimum.

While there are some negatives to playing video games—there’s no denying that they stop us from getting outside! —there are also some benefits. Surprisingly, playing video games can help our physical, mental, and emotional health. We improve in ways that we never expected, whether we’re playing World of Warcraft with our friends, playing Call of Duty alone, or even pulling out the Wii Fit.

Let’s look at all the surprising ways that playing videos games is helping our health. Just what type of benefits are we seeing? Here’s a look at 12 surprising health benefits of playing video games. We highly recommend games with sports activities that you can play with your family and have a lot of fun.

Just a Note of Caution

Before we do get into this list of surprising health benefits, this isn’t an excuse to spend all day, every day on the games. I still believe in moderation and limitation.

Similarly, to eating chocolate and junk food, it’s a case of doing everything in moderation. That means you still need to get outside and take part in other physical activity. Some of the social benefits do not beat the benefits of physically meeting up with friends.

In moderation, you will find that you can take advantage of the benefits. While we have an Xbox in the house, playing time is limited to weekends. This helps to keep the focus on family time during the week but still allow some fun and online gaming for a few hours a week to gain the benefits.

There Is the Ability to Overcome Dyslexia

If you suffer from dyslexia, there is some excellent news. Video gaming has shown some benefits in overcoming the mental disability. While researchers don’t fully understand dyslexia and why it only affects some people, there are some theories, and there’s no denying the results of the studies.

One of the theories is that attention problems lead to dyslexia. The benefit of computer games is that they force you to concentrate for long periods of time. Chances are you won’t even realize that you’re concentrating for these long periods of time.

The games are full of changing sceneries. You must read instructions that pop up, with often voices speaking the text that shows up. There are instructions that you need to follow and missions that you need to complete. This isn’t just in the military games like Call of Duty and Gears of War, either. Some of the more child-friendly games like Disney’s Infinity and Skylander involve missions to complete and ever changing and growing sceneries.

You must focus so intently that your brain changes the way that it is made up. There are still studies to understand this benefit further.

Your Vision May Improve

This seems to be completely opposite to the old belief that if you sat too close to the computer or TV, then your vision would be negatively affected. Well, you’re not actually going to sit that close to the TV with most computer games now, since the cords for the controllers are much longer. We’re able to sit on the opposite side of the room.

Other studies have shown that computer gaming can improve your vision. You’re forced to look for details on the screen and distinguish between different shades of the same color. This ability becomes useful in the real world, as you will find it easier to distinguish between colors when you’re walking. You’ll notice smaller details.

At the same time, people with lazy eyes have shown improvement. This was in studies where the good eye was covered, so the gamer was forced to view through the lazy eye. Remember that the eyes are surrounding by muscles. By strengthening the muscles, the lazy eye issue was corrected somewhat to the point where it was no longer a problem.

Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board

You Can Become More Physical

Computer games have come a long way since they were first invented. At one time, they involved children and adults sitting for hours at a time to complete missions and get to the end of the game. I remember when you had to sit for hours to complete levels because there was no save function—I’m still not past Level 8.2 of the original Mario!

Now, computer games involve a physical aspect. There is Just Dance, the Wii FitGuitar Hero and more. They involve you standing and dancing around the room. You can build your muscles, improve posture, and focus on weight loss.

And you can still become more physically active even if you don’t use these types of games. Children who play sports games are more likely to become interested in those sports outside of the home. They join teams or practice the skills they see in the game in real life. Some will play with their friends and others will develop the skills on their own.

Parents can help by encouraging their children to get out more. Find out what games they’re interested in and develop a way to help them take the game and play outside.