When people imagine a guy who plays video games all day, they typically picture a certain stereotype that doesn’t exactly reflect an active, social lifestyle.
Thanks to innovations in the way we think about digital gaming, however, that’s all changing. Armed with mobile games that bring the digital world out of the comuter chair, contemporary gamer can actually be happier and healthier than the isolated, inactive ones of years past, according to a new dissertation published by the University of Jyväskylä in Finland.
There’s just one (pretty obvious) technicality: Traditional video games alone won’t do the trick—you’ve got to play those that require physical activity as part of the game itself. Pokémon Go, for example, forces gamers to actually walk around (or run around, depending on your level of enthusiasm) to catch the little digital dudes.
The research, which refers to these particular types of games as “exergames” (good luck getting that name to stick, guys), found that on top of the physical benefits of getting up and off the couch, exergames increase opportunities for players to meet new people and socialize.
“Through gaming, meeting new people and acquiring new friends can be easier,” said Tumoas Kari, author of the dissertation. “Therefore, exergaming can also increase social wellbeing.”
We can’t say we’re totally surprised to hear this, though, considering some of the best gamers in the world (like Men’s Fitness go-to gaming expert Michael “Flamesword” Chaves) also happen to be some of the fittest guys around. Don’t believe us? Check out these four weightlifting moves to max out your lifting and gaming potential.