Seniors have a vested interest in playing video games if they want to maintain their health. That’s the conclusion of a new study by researchers at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. The authors have found that certain games, which involve physical activity, are very good for memory.
In detail, scientists have brought together 45 people over 72 years old. The participants were separated into two groups. 23 of them participated in interactive video game sessions from Kinect Sports on the Xbox 360 game console. The remaining 22 participated in low-intensity standing and sitting exercises.
More and more seniors are playing
The result is clear since seniors who played video games recorded significant increases in their cognitive test scores between the start of the study and three months later. Such a result was not observed on the other group. Likewise, they improved their physical performance, with significant progress in all four tests: six-minute walk, dynamic balance, timed ascent and descent, and functional range.
The main author of this study, Tracy Kolbe-Alexander, specifies on this subject:
The interactive video game is different from traditional exercise, as it not only requires physical skills, abilities and bodily movements to control the character on the screen, but it also has a cognitive component that requires visuospatial skills. , eye-hand or eye-foot coordination and quick decision making. Our results indicate that the combination of these two types of exercise can have a positive effect on the cognitive function of an elderly person and improve important daily functional capacities such as mobility, stability, balance and strength.
These results are promising because they could contribute in particular to reduce the risk of falls and therefore indirectly to improve the quality of life of the elderly.
As a reminder, a survey conducted in 2020 in the United States by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) revealed that, since 2016, eleven million Americans over 50 had joined the ranks of regular players. With the health crisis that has slowed down physical meetings, we can also imagine that this number has increased further.