Health Benefits of Gaming

Guest Blog by Marcus Clarke

We know all too well the CDC recommendations for limiting screen time for children. While we want kids to be more physically active, new research suggests that some video games may have positive health results. 

The latest research shows that gaming can aid learning and improve cognitive development. For example, magnetic resonance imaging after people have played video games has shown that certain areas of the brain, such as those associated with spatial awareness and planning, are strengthened by gaming. Gaming has also been shown to improve memory and retention, particularly platform games such as Mario. 

While we often think of video gaming as a distraction, it turns out that gaming can help increase executive function. Research conducted on children with attention disorders such as ADHD has found that gaming can aid in building concentration levels. In this case, the studies used games such as Tetris, which has a simple goal - to get the highest score. The engrossing nature of the game means that gamers have to focus, and can develop their attention span. 

We also tend to think that gaming will cause kids to lead a more sedentary lifestyle. A new study by LSU suggests that exergames, in combination with fitness coaching and a step tracker, helped overweight children lose weight, lower their blood pressure and cholesterol and increase their physical activity. Games on platforms such as the Nintendo Wii and the Xbox Kinect can help children become more active and physically healthier. 

As we have seen, gaming can have a role in kids’ play, and it can even enrich active play and learning. To find out more about the benefits of gaming, see the infographic from Computer Planet below.