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Exergaming for Better Cognitive Functioning

We all know how beneficial exercise can be for our overall well-being, regardless whether we indulge in mental or physical exercise. On the other hand, playing games is technically a very broad term. Physical games can include those kinds of games we play outside our homes when smart phones and gaming consoles aren’t a thing yet. Gaming can also mean those activities that can stimulate your mental skills to win against your opponent, such as a game of chess or playing cards.

Sure, both exercise and playing games have been around and has evolved through the years. In the process, engaging in such kinds of activities has made us healthy in general. However, there is a new kind of game that can be a form of exercise as well, which is already getting popular these past few years.

Everyone, have you already tried “exergaming”?

What is exergaming?

Exergaming is basically a new form of gaming that requires participants to perform a physical activity to play a game. It is obviously a portmanteau of “exercise” and “gaming”, which is a combination of exercise and games.

These past years, gaming companies have offered ways to incorporate gaming with exercising, among which includes the Nintendo Wii Fit and Xbox 360 Kinect. These consoles basically require you to move your hands, feet, or any part of your body to control the entire game. We can say that exergaming combines video games and exercising / fitness.

Exergaming has changed the world of gaming as well. Before, children and adults would often sit for hours in front of the screen, controller on hand, while playing their favorite games. Through exergaming, it helps eliminate sedentary behavior and instead encourages being more physically active while enjoying the game at the same time!

Benefits of exergaming

For one, exergaming is more than just a physical activity. It provides lots of benefits among the users / players. Among significant benefits of exergaming include the following:

1. Encourages physical exercise

As mentioned earlier, the use of technology has caused a sedentary lifestyle among individuals. Likewise, it created an impact on children in terms of physical exercise so they will grow healthy and strong. With the help of exergaming, children can still enjoy playing video games and get physically active at the same time. Plus, it also helps improve hand-eye coordination and motor skills. Exergaming is not just for kids. In fact, nursing and elderly homes have already adapted exergaming as a way to keep their patients as physically active as they can.

2. Enhances cognitive health

Exergaming not only can benefit physically, but also our cognitive health as well. For one, exergaming can work on your memory, planning, multi-tasking, and problem-solving skills. Exergaming can also be a great help for the elderly. Because it encourages improvements in cognitive skills, it can also help delay memory loss or dementia. Aside from that, a research revealed that exergames can help boost self-esteem and confidence, and improve children’s brain function as well.

3. Creates alternatives to play sports

Some people are not born to be athletes, but it can be achieved through exergaming. For example, you can play tennis at the comforts of your own home, without an actual tennis racket and without the need to play under the heat of the sun. Likewise, you can even dance or do aerobics just for fun or as part of your weight loss plan. On the other hand, some kids are too shy to play actual sports for some reason. With exergaming, they can be able to play sports without feeling self-conscious anymore – and may pave way for them to play the actual sport in the future.

4. Promotes bonding among friends and family

You can choose to exergame alone, but it is also a fun and social way to keep fit while bonding with your loved ones. It also promotes interaction with other people that can turn into long-lasting friendships especially among players. Exergaming is also a good family bonding experience. Instead of going to the mall and senselessly spend money due to impulse buying, why not try exergaming and stay at the comforts of your own home?

Who said gaming is not healthy? Not so with exergaming, a new way to be fit and healthy, while having fun, creating friends, and bonding with loved ones!

Image credit: [Exergamelab.org]

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