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Play Games for Your Health


What do video games do to your body? Can they actually be good for you? What physically happens to your body when you play?

Playing games is like playing sports. Your body produces adrenaline to help you meet those challenges, which speeds up your reflexes. This is an evolutionary response to danger or challenges in your environment. This also helps you feel less pain, so if you’re sick or recovering from surgery, pop a Tylenol and pick up a controller.

The downside is that blood is being rerouted to your muscles to give you those lightning quick trigger fingers, but it does this by taking blood away from the brain. This means it can be hard to think clearly, so don’t go making any big decisions while gaming (they could put that on a warning label on the back of game boxes). It seems counter intuitive, because it’s important to be able to make good decisions in tense situations, but you’re really working off of muscle memory rather than traditional memory.

Another pro is that by gaining experience (literally and metaphorically) in games, you may be better able to deal with things in real life. The way people react to stress and stressful situations affects their bodies in unexpected and sometimes unexplained ways. So by remaining calm and making that adrenaline rush work for you rather than against you, you’re learning how to deal with Simulated Stress Situations (SSS- okay I made that acronym up, but it sounds legit, right?).

Lastly, the problem with adrenaline is that you can get addicted to the rush. People can get addicted to any video game and for various reasons. You probably don’t get much of an adrenaline rush from farming for gold or experience in an RPG, but playing a (good) survival horror means you’ll be on the edge of your seat the whole time. But the more you shoot zombies, the more often you might want to.

So to sum up, here are some of the pros and cons of playing games, so you can decide for yourself if the benefits outweigh the risks. Personally, I’d rather have the experience dealing with stress and addiction and level up to help me prepare for tougher challenges ahead.

+ Adrenaline is released, reducing pain

+ Learn how to deal with stress

–  Harder to make decisions

– Adrenaline can be addicting

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