#36alive 213: Swap TV For Gaming

Girlfriend hassling you about playing video games too much whilst she watches another reality TV show? Show her this….

Whilst we’d always recommend getting outside and doing something more natural that doesn’t involve screens, we’re aware that in the modern world, we’re surrounded by them, and we’re inevitably going to spend some time in front of them.

There are a few ways you can use your screens to get smarter, however, instead of turning into a couch potato. If you find yourself watching TV a lot – which is likely, as UK adults watch an average of 4 hours of TV per day, and spend over 8 hours on media devices – then spend some of that time playing a game instead of just sitting there.

Watching TV is a passive activity, and we don’t get a whole lot of out of it. Even if TV is your ‘down time’, playing a game is also a way of switching focus, whilst keeping brain cells active and neurons firing. A study from 2014 showed that even something like Super Mario has an effect on brain plasticity (the brain’s ability to physically and metaphorically change and adapt), and this study from Forbes also found grey matter increases if we start actively using the brain, instead of sitting there slumbering.

So, especially if you’re concerned about cognitive decline, or have a family history of brain disease, get playing! (And if you spend hours playing video games already, try going outside a little more….)

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