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10 Ways Video Games Can Improve Your Life

10 Ways Video Games Can Improve Your Life

There is a long-standing and completely erroneous image of video games as time-wasters that hurt players. The media has sparked part of this belief by attempting to tie violence and other social ills to an interest in gaming. However, there is no solid evidence to back up this misconception. Instead, there are actually many ways that playing video games can actually improve your life.

1. They Can Inspire Your Career

Some of the most talented gamers go on to design video games or play them professionally. Both of these can be lucrative career choices that enable people to make a living by doing something they love while bringing joy to others. There are also many games that can spark an interest in a new industry or even be used as an educational tool. For example, using Minecraft to teach architecture is a good way to get students to think outside the box and enhance their collaboration skills.

2. They Actually Reduce Crime Levels

For years, reactionary individuals have called for an end to video games, especially those that contain imagery of violence and law-breaking activities. They were probably shocked when researchers announced that there’s actually a connection between playing video games and a reduction in crime. A team from the University of Texas discovered that every 10 percent increase in the sales of violent video games was followed by a 1 percent decrease in crime. These results weren’t just found in just one area, either, and they have been confirmed by a different study too.

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3. They Reduce Violent Behavior

A reduction in crime in general, is great, but what about violence? After all, that’s the main issue that people bring up in relation to video games. The good news is that research has proven yet again that video games do not increase violent behavior or violent crimes. On the contrary, every single time a hugely popular violent video game is released, the rate of homicide declines. There are many theories about this effect, but what really matters is that video games have been proven to lead to fewer crimes and violence.

4. They Can Make You Less Stressed

Video games, particularly of the violent variety, can actually give you better coping skills for stressful situations. According to a study conducted by researchers at Texas A&M International University, individuals who play violent video games handle bouts of long-term stress better than their non-game playing peers. Additionally, the gamers in this study became less hostile after being given a stressful task to complete. This led the research team to conclude that playing violent video games provides a boost for mood management.

5. They Can Help You Socialize

Introverts have an especially difficult time socializing, and people with certain medical conditions such as autism are also less likely to feel comfortable spending an extended amount of time in public. Games such as ‘Pokémon Go’ are helping these individuals break through their social barriers, though, which showcases the positive benefits of getting involved in this type of activity. Gamers who prefer to stick to a home console often enter multiplayer environments with other players, and this offers another opportunity to socialize in a comfortable setting.

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6. They Make it Easier to Get in Shape

‘Pokémon Go’ has been highlighting the exercise potential of video games, including the story of a player who walked 95 miles and lost 10 pounds during a two-week time frame. There are also several video games that were created with the express purpose of helping people get in shape, including Wii Active, along with a long list of dancing titles that reward players for spending a large amount of time perfecting difficult and fast-paced dance moves.

7. They Can Boost Your Cognitive Function

If anyone has ever told you that playing video games will make you less intelligent or is a sign of mental laziness, you can now educate them about the facts. The American Psychological Association has indicated that video games of all types can strengthen a long list of cognitive skills, including memory, reasoning, spatial reasoning and perception. Perhaps the most fascinating thing about this particular study is that they also discovered that playing violent shooter games offers the most cognitive benefits.

8. They Ward off Anxiety

Another major revelation from the American Psychological Association is that playing simplistic games such as “Angry Birds” makes people feel less anxious. These individuals also tend to be more relaxed and experience a mood improvement while playing one of these games, and these benefits can extend into the rest of their day. In other words, the next time you’re feeling really anxious about something, try pulling out your smartphone and playing a level or two on one of your favorite games.

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9. They Lead to Faster Decision Making

Video game environments typically provide players with almost constant choices to make, and this requires the ability to make fast decisions. As a result, gamers often develop a 25 percent increase in their ability to respond to questions and offer details about something they have just witnessed. Therefore, if you often have issues with making quick decisions, you may want to add video games to your regular routine.

10. They Can Make Your Vision Better

Some parents discourage their kids from playing video games because they believe it will damage their eyes. The Visual Development Lab of Ontario’s research indicates that this quite simply isn’t factual. Instead, people who play video games, especially first-person shooters, can experience improvements in their vision. This was especially noticeable with cataract patients who were able to begin seeing things more sharply as a result of playing video games.

Now that science has proven that video games can help you with everything from stress to your vision, it’s time to start playing them without feeling guilty. If you are big gaming enthusiast, you may even want to consider the top eight careers in this field.

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Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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