If you look hard enough, you can find health benefits in most hobbies.
Even something like 8-ball keeps you on your feet, thinking about shots and planning a strategy. As long as you’re not playing for hours, downing sugary drinks and high-fat snacks, there is a health benefit there. We explored how belief can make you healthier in our article ‘What Are the Health Benefits of Religion?’ And you can find health benefits in the least likely places, even in poker.
Poker is a booming industry in the United States, with states legalizing online poker and other forms of online gaming. Missouri is set to try again very soon, joining the likes of Pennsylvania and Nevada, which already allows gaming. Of course, Nevada is a gaming hub, and the World Series of Poker is currently being held there and broadcast around the country. That will see poker participation increase both online and in the numerous Las Vegas poker rooms. There’s no denying it; poker is a hobby more people are enjoying than ever before.
What are the health benefits of playing poker? As long as some general rules are observed, such as a good diet during games and plenty of stretching and moving around when possible, there are some acute benefits for poker players, as we explore here.
Poker is a mind game that requires you to learn a skill and a set of rules and apply them to the game. It isn’t as straightforward as a game such as Monopoly; you need to concentrate, read the cards and develop keen people skills. It is a game that requires you to be sharp and improves those skills as you go along. If playing games online, you might find some are chewing gum for the brain, bashing buttons or matching simple colors, but poker is so much more than that. It improves cognitive response, reaction times and people reading skills, all of which have supplementary health benefits.
After a good poker game, you can feel very tired indeed; and that’s a good thing. The Sleep Foundation explains how sleep is a vital function that allows your mind and body to recharge. After a mammoth poker session, a game that challenges your endurance and stamina, you’ll sleep much easier and garner the health benefits from doing so. Of course, making sure you drink water, not sugar energy drinks or caffeine, is an essential part of this health benefit.
Social interaction is vital for health and well-being, and poker brings you into contact with other players, whether around the Las Vegas tables or sitting at home on your computer. In fact, the New York Times reports that people with an unhealthy lifestyle but a vibrant social circle live longer than those who live healthily but predominately alone. Other studies have shown that of men who survived a heart attack, those with a strong friendship group had only a quarter of the risk of death within three years than those who were alone. It’s official; having friends and socializing keeps you healthy, and poker is a great game for putting in front of others.
*Images were taken from Pixabay.com