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12 Positives Only Gamers Would Understand

12 Positives Only Gamers Would Understand

Games are one of the world’s most popular and pleasurable pastimes, and barely a month goes by without the Internet going into a meltdown over the next future of gaming. Sadly, however, video games have also got an unfairly negative reputation in recent years, having been tenuously linked to acts of violence, and an ever-more-visible collection of violent video games.

Despite this, there are plenty of reasons the gamers’ pastime is full of positives, and there are plenty of gaming benefits. In an effort to turn the tide a little bit and help keep you informed on the benefits available to you with a games console, here are 12 positives that gamers will truly understand:

1. They relax you and keep you happy.

This first one’s a bit of a doozy, really, but it turns out that video games can be one hell of a relaxant. Playing video games have been shown to release endorphins into the bloodstream, helping you feel happy and relaxed, particularly if you’re playing something nice and not too scary. So, next time you’re caught playing Monument Valley on your phone, or Little Big Planet on your console, just remember that these games are giving you a little boost and are psychologically aiding you.

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2. They help you channel aggression safely.

Video games might be getting more and more ‘violent’ these days, but it turns out that beating a virtual character to a bloody pulp can actually have a beneficial effect. Studies have shown that aggression levels were actually lowered following a session playing games, as long as the gaming session was not particularly long. So, if you’re feeling the need to blow off an angry day at work, consider turning to your games console. After all, taking it out on waves of monsters is much more sensible than taking it out on your co-workers.

3. They help improve your eyesight.

The jokes about looking too long at a screen turning your eyes square might not be 100% true, but one of the most unusual and yet infinitely more useful gaming benefits is the fact that playing games can help improve your eyesight. Research has found that certain video games, particularly ones that have rich, shadow-heavy environments such as action shooters and survival horror games, can help improve ‘contrast sensitivity’ in the eyes, which helps you see better in the dark. There you have it — video games are more scientifically proven to help your eyesight than carrots!

4. They build online friendships and communities.

One of the best gaming benefits out there is that with games such as MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games), the players are interacting with other like-minded gamers across the world, forcing them to foster and build friendships and positive relationships. This can in turn help boost self-esteem, lower feelings of isolation and loneliness, and help them cultivate a truly global set of friends, the likes of which our ancestors couldn’t have dreamed of. Not bad, eh?

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    5. They enhance your teamwork skills.

    Teamwork is a shaky term at best when it comes to down the modern world of playing massive online tournaments and battles with people all across the globe. But it turns out that the games that work on the premise of teamwork can help foster real-world abilities and relationships. Working with people towards a common goal, particularly in the realm of battle or combat games, helps create strong bonds with people, and can make you more likely to build strong bonds with people outside of the world of video games. And they said they had no applications!

    6. They help improve your problem-solving skills.

    Anyone who’s played a complex puzzle-solving game can attest to the level of frustration that a particularly vexing problem can bring, but it turns out these moments help us deal with real-world problems by engaging the logic centers of the brain. Research has found that those who played more problem-solving games were quicker and more able to deal with finding a solution when presented with a real-life problem. Are video games an acceptable substitution for high school maths? No, but it was worth a shot anyway …

    7. They can help keep you fit and healthy.

    This almost goes without saying, but the physical activity-based games, such as those offered by the Wii, can help increase physical fitness and fight obesity and illness. Studies have shown that children who regularly played on consoles such as the Wii were less likely to be classed as overweight or obese, and had a generally higher level of physical fitness. However, you can be healthy at any size, and if a quick game of tennis or baseball on your games console helps you be healthy, there’s really no downside.

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    8. They give you better hand-eye coordination.

    This is one of the best gaming benefits out there with a real-world use; games help develop your hand-eye coordination and your spatial awareness. It seems simple when it comes to consoles such as the Wii (although learning by accidentally smashing your TV isn’t really the way to go about it!), but even games in which you’re using a handheld controller can be beneficial and help you increase your ability to judge speed and location. This is usually when someone in a game throws a Molotov cocktail at you, but it works either way.

    9. They help you make quicker decisions.

    Studies have found that playing fast-paced video games can actually give you some great real-world applications and gaming benefits, such as being quicker at making decisions. Gamers have been shown to improve their decision-making skills and speed by 25%, on average, when compared to their non-gamer equivalents. This is likely down to the immersive nature of games, which regularly force players into immediate action, honing their ability to quickly recognize a situation and react accordingly.

    10. They make you better at multitasking.

    Multitasking is one of those terms that gets bandied out too much and too often as something we should all aspire to be doing. However, while you’re probably worrying about balancing three tasks at once, research has shown that playing video games can help you in multitasking. This is thanks to games that force you to deal with situations all at once, making your mind grapple with multiple problems and tackle them in sequential order. In other words, dealing with a wave of enemies, a failing power situation, and the health of your team mates can actually make you better at switching tasks quickly and effectively in the real world. How’s that for applicable gaming benefits?

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    11. They can help unleash your creativity.

    Creativity is a rarely controllable trait and state of mind to be in, so anything that naturally enhances your sense of creativity has to be applauded. Turns out that video games help enhance creativity in a multitude of ways; everything from the controls to the color palette and the story can help awaken dormant ideas and thoughts and help spark new life into them. You can suddenly work out the fight sequence for your screenplay while kicking online ass, find that color you’ve been looking for in a game’s lush background, or even work out a melody for a new song thanks to the instrumentals playing. In other words, you’re welcome.

    12. They can help relieve physical pain.

    Last, but most certainly not least, video games have the amazing ability to help players alleviate physical pain. Several studies have found that patients in hospital wards with chronic illnesses, or undergoing therapy or treatment, found their symptoms allayed somewhat by playing on a video games console, which are commonplace in certain wards. This seems to be due to the deeply engrossing nature of the games, which helps take patients’ minds off their pain, as well as the endorphin rush from playing and succeeding at the games. This is one of the best gaming benefits we can imagine and, frankly, if anyone deserves to play games to their hearts’ content, it’s people stuck in hospitals.

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    Chris Haigh

    Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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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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