Did you know that in addition to providing entertainment and bringing people together through competitive and cooperative play, that games can also enhance health benefits?
The GameBoard staff supports the many benefits of gaming and is excited to help you realize them.
Typically laughing occurs during game play and laughing increases endorphins, which are chemicals that bring up the feeling of happiness. That same release of endorphins helps muscles to relax and blood to circulate, which may lower or maintain blood pressure. Sharing laughter and fun can create the feel-good emotions of empathy, compassion and trust with others. Another side benefit of laughter is stress reduction, and who couldn’t use some of that?
Many games involve memory formation and cognitive skills, such as problem solving. Two areas of the brain responsible for complex thought and memory, the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, particularly benefit from playing games.
For children, playing games helps develop logic and reasoning skills, improve critical thinking, boost spatial reasoning, increase verbal/communication skills, develop attention span and overall concentration. Especially as we age, playing games can reduce the risk of cognitive decline which leads to mental diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Keeping your mind engaged means you are exercising it and making it stronger.
Research revealed that negativity, depression and stress could inhibit your ability to fight disease. Conversely, positive feelings and thoughts prevent these effects by releasing certain chemicals that fight stress and boost your immune system. Playing games increases happiness/joy and helps you relax and unwind which all have positive impacts on your health.
Many games also work on manual dexterity, hand/eye coordination, or physical challenges to improve physical health.
In addition to having a great time, playing games builds communication skills and confidence, develops analytical thinking and leadership, and teaches how to be a good sport and learn from mistakes.
There are recognized social benefits of playing games that include: developing trust, strengthening bonds with other players who are usually family and friends, promoting empathy, reflection and compassion. Emotional intelligence is a hot area of development and playing games helps build it.
You likely can recall a time when you played a game and still have to crack a smile at the great memory it made. Here’s to playing more games for overall better health.