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Get Your Game On

5 fun video games that can improve your health

The Feel-Good Benefits

Exergames — physical games like those you play on Wii — help you burn calories and promote cognitive stimulation, studies in Games for Health Journal find. Strategy games are brain boosters, too: Games that require complex problem solving can stimulate your brain more than simple puzzles, says Debra Lieberman of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Video games can also strengthen friendships, since you connect with fellow players as you're blasting bad guys. So what other health benefits may exist? Since 2007 the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has doled out $8.25 million to examine video games' effect on everything from diabetes management to driving.

See also: 6 great mobile games for family fun

Minecraft
(Xbox 360; $27
*)
Build structures out of blocks in this self-paced strategy game — just finish before monsters close in.

Sports Champions 2
PlayStation 3; $30; available Oct. 30, 2012)
Increase your agility while playing virtual versions of sports like tennis, archery and skiing.

Wii Sports Resort
(Wii; $40)

Up your energy level with bowling and basketball, then get social and host a tourna ­ ment with friends.

Alien Attack
(Mac and PC; free via games.aarp.org)

Test your eyesight and your reflexes as you maneuver a spaceship from left to right and open fire on invaders.

Draw Something
(iPhone and Android smartphones; $3 for ad-free version)

Expand your creativity as you draw, well, something — and let your friends guess what it is.

*All prices are suggested retail.

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