There is a misconception that all gamers are antisocial and unhealthy and overweight due to the idea that they sit for hours on end eating healthy snacks and avoiding anything that isn’t gaming, including moving for days on end. While many gamers have had their experiences with gaming that encompass some of the above stereotypes, it isn’t necessarily true that each gamer falls into the typical stereotype many people have of what a gamer is.
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That being said, for anyone who spends long periods of time in a stationary position, you need to make sure you are taking precautions to counterbalance the effect inactivity has on the human body. Our bodies need certain elements to be able to function properly. Neglecting your health as a gamer can have serious consequences and, at the very least, affect your ability to play properly. And no one wants that!
Taking care of your health as a gamer is pretty much as you would expect for people who don’t game. The added fact that movement and exercise are especially important to balance out sitting down for long periods. Much like office workers.
But is spending time in front of a screen healthy for you at all, or is gaming ruining your health in other ways? If you are careful, the answer to that question is no. Still, you need to take your whole lifestyle into account and see where you can make the needed changes and adjustments to prevent you from doing damage to your body and mental health from gaming frequently.
Eye strain isn’t just a common issue for gamers alone. In fact, it is something most people who look at screens for long periods can suffer from. Gamers tend to be singled out due to the high-intensity gameplay and graphics they look at and the duration without breaks in front of a screen or even two.
You want to prevent eye strain and other potential side effects by making sure you get your eyes tested regularly and investing in tech to reduce the harmful effects of blue lighting emitted from screens on your eyes. If you wear glasses, having a filter put on your lenses can be beneficial, using a blue light filter screen to reduce this. If you are having issues with headaches or tired eyes, you may be suffering from eye strain. Can you see it clearly when playing far away from the screen? If the answer is no, you may need an eye test.
As tempting as it is to keep on playing and set yourself a new record for how long you can play in one session, this isn’t good for your health. Your eyes, hands, and body need breaks and time away from the screen. Even if you are getting up to get more food, drinks, or head to the toilet, take short regular breaks from gameplay to make sure you are giving your eyes a rest and allowing yourself time away from the screen.
Set the alarm on your phone for regular breaks every few hours, as you would if you were at work. Try to get up and head outside the room you are playing in or even head outside to allow you to get some fresh air. Which leads us on to the next point,
Get Some Fresh Air
Even just cracking the window and allowing the air to circulate in the room. We all need a breather now and again. Getting some sunlight into your day will benefit your health, too, as our bodies absorb vitamin D from the sunlight and vitamin D for healthy bones, teeth, and muscles.
Being able to breathe in fresh helps you to clear your head and see things more clearly, too, even if for just small pockets of time throughout the day.
Water is the best fluid for our bodies; we all know that. However, not everyone drinks sufficient amounts of water every day. Our bodies are made up of up to 60% water, and we use water to help us sweat, cry, breathe, for our cells to regenerate, and so on. We use water in every single part of our body to do whether we realize it or not. Most drinks will contain water so even if you don’t get your recommended daily allowance of water (at least 2l every day) staying adequately hydrated will help your body perform all the functions it needs to and keep your body healthy.
Try to opt for low sugar drinks and avoid fizzy drinks as much as possible. Drinks with artificial sweetener could negatively affect your body and help increase your appetite or sweet tooth at least. So sticking with low or no added sugar drinks or plain water will benefit you the most.
Eating a balanced diet doesn’t mean balancing on your knee while you play, far from it. The stereotypical gamers’ diet consists of junk food and takeaways. While these foods are fine in moderation, you want to make sure you are getting your vitamins and minerals from wealthier food options every day.
Food prep each day will give you healthier meal options to grab when playing. Search for easy, balanced meal prep ideas to help you to plan your diet for those days when the last thing you want to do is pull yourself away from the game and prepare a complicated meal.
Choose healthier snacks such as fruit or veggies and healthy nuts and seeds. Avoid food loaded with sugar that will give you a crash or mid-afternoon slump. A diet heavy in protein can help you push through those slumps and keep your energy levels up for longer.
If you cannot eat a fully balanced nutritious meal every mealtime, look at adding supplements to your diet to make up for what you lack due to food preferences or allergies.
Everyone needs a daily dose of exercise. Running up and the stairs count if you don’t want to leave home, as do home workouts you can find online or on YouTube for free. Slot in a quick HIIT (high-intensity interval training) session for 10-15 mins before you set up for a day of gaming to kick start your metabolism and keep your body fit and healthy every day.
Go for a walk, hit the gym, take a bike ride, opt for gaming standing up if you can, and eliminate the sitting down portion of your gameplay. Spending long periods of time sitting down can be harmful to your long-term health so think about ways to adapt your gaming setup to remove your chair when you want to and play standing up. Look at adjustable desks to allow you to switch between sitting and standing.
There is no reason why, as a gamer, you need to fall into the trap of looking and acting the way people expect you to. Take care of your health in small and easy ways each day to help you prolong your stamina to allow you to play longer each and every day. Build your new habits slowly to be confident that you are making the right choices for your health and will continue into the future. If overhauling your lifestyle seems like too big a task, start with one new positive change, allow it to build into a habit and then add another on and keep going until you are making sustainable changes that will keep you healthy.