Thanks to Marcus from Computer Planet for this weeks guest post.

We all want to improve our health, our mind, and our productivity. That goes without saying. What doesn’t go without saying is that playing video games can help you do it. How may you ask? Well, let me explain.

Gaming can improve our health in two main ways. It can enrich our brains and sculpt our bodies. For example, research has shown that certain areas of the brain (particularly the parietal lobe, the frontal lobe and the anterior cingulate) are strengthened, and their grey matter increases, as a result of playing video games. Likewise, many cognitive processes: memory, spatial awareness, planning, etc, are improved through playing video games. In addition to cognitive benefits, there are physical benefits of gaming if you play exergames, which are games that involve activity and movement, and in which you use your body as the controller. These have grown in popularity since the Nintendo Wii, a pioneer in the field, was released, and the National Institute of Health has praised their impact on physical activity levels.

As well as these amazing benefits, gaming is increasingly being used by forward-thinking healthcare professionals to treat a variety of things. For example, pain. In one study, the sample size was around 500 and that 42% of participants saw improvement in pain distraction outcomes and research is ongoing into further ways in which gaming can manage pain. Likewise, others have studied the use of gaming to manage attention disorders, and they have shown that playing video games can help those with disorders such as ADHD to develop their focus and shut out external distractions. And this is despite the bad rap that gaming often has.

The research is very exciting, and no doubt as scientists develop their knowledge further we will find further benefits of gaming. In the meantime, just get playing!

To find out more about these amazing benefits and some research that has been conducted, see the infographic to the left from Computer Planet.