Video games and virtual reality (VR) programs are for kids. Or are they? The truth is that video games and VR have a variety of benefits for the aging population that can’t be ignored. If you are an older adult, it’s time to take the game control from the little ones in your life and start gaming. Here are four reasons that you should renew your interest in the virtual world.
1. Improved Balance
According to research, adults who play video games that concentrate on training the brain have better balance and fine motor skills. Adults who play video games regularly walk faster and have better balance overall. Mobility is improved with game play, even if the game itself is not a physical one.
2. Lower Stress
Immersing yourself in a video game can reduce blood pressure, stress and depression. Video games have mood boosting capabilities in both the short- and long-term. A good round of gaming can help a player relax and unwind, without being conscious that they are doing so. People tend to “lose” themselves in video games, forgetting their problems as they shut out the world. As such, gaming can be a fantastic way to decrease the general levels of stress a person is experiencing.
3. Vision Improvement
Another bit of research has shown that players who play individual shooter games have increased capabilities when it comes to their vision. It is thought that these fast-paced games spike dopamine and adrenaline in the brain, helping the brain maintain and improve its health. These things combined can help to improve vision in the older population.
4. Exercise Levels
As an older adult, continued movement is important in maintaining joint health and muscle mass. Games that get you up and moving, like those found on the Wii system or some VR programs, can help to increase blood flow and cardiovascular health. Casual competition between adults can also increase the ability and desire to maintain a social life which can, in turn, decrease levels of depression, stress and anxiety.
With all of the gaming systems and video games available today, it’s simply a matter of experimentation to find a favorite. There are games that contain virtual mazes, lengthy role playing scenarios and fast-paced action. There are racing games, sports games and brain games. You may have to get up and move or simply sit in a chair with a controller in your hand. There is literally a video game for everyone. Finding your favorite can improve your health dramatically.
Growing older doesn’t mean giving up your physical or mental health. We are here to ensure that you are able to maintain your lifestyle and independence, even when you’re ready to move out of that big, empty house.