Tips for Healthy Gaming
With the world in a state of semi-permanent Tuesday afternoon, many of us find ourselves with extra time to fill with the one true passion in life: Gaming!
While gaming may seem like an innocuous use of your time in the sense that it can't technically physically hurt you (unless you're stuck in a 1v1 with a smurf and there's crockery nearby) it can take a massive toll on your mental wellbeing and consequently spill over into your physical and emotional wellbeing. And since we here at Esports Scotland want only the best for you, here are a few tips to keep you healthy.
1. TAKE A BREAK!
So you've just sweated it out for 5 hours trying to get back in your "true rank" after the new season pass. While your tenacity is impressive, it might be time to get up and have a little time away from the screens. Ideally you should take a 15 minute break every hour; so after a long slog supporting the mid lane with a sub tier troll hero, give yourself a pat on the back for carrying your useless teammates, reward yourself with a cuppa and a banana, and bask in the glory that is your 1.87 KD ratio
When you spend a lot of time in front of a screen you may not notice the strain you're putting on your eyes by not blinking. If you've ever experienced the firey stinging sensation in your eyes late at night, this is because you've dried out your peepers.
A good exercise is to go outside and try and focus your gaze at a point far away to give your eyes a break from the lights blaring into them. Medical professionals recommend the 20-20-20 rule (don’t worry, it has nothing to do with the apocalyptic year we’ve just got rid of!). For every 20 minutes you look at a screen, spend 20 seconds looking at something at a distance of 20 metres. Your eyes slowly deteriorate over time so taking good care of them is essential if you want to keep up that esports career. Life is a marathon not a sprint!
3. GO PLAY OUTSIDE!
Fresh air is essential, and staying in one room for a prolonged period of time with no air flow is going to tire you out. Plus, the outside world is pretty dope: the graphics are amazing and render well beyond 4k, and the NPC's can be pretty entertaining if you have decent speechcraft.
A good little tip is to oxygenate your room with a plant or two and have an open window to clear the air through to help you to refocus for the nutty flick you've been practising all afternoon.
4. RUN FOREST RUUUUUUN!
Exercise is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and there are tons and tons of little things you can do in a small space without gym equipment, by using calisthenics and exercise regimes. Have a look around for a nice low impact workout that suits you; better yet make it into a game! Negative KD? Uh oh, that's 20 sit ups bud. Couldn't stuff the end level boss first try? That's 10 push ups, tut tut get gud m8. Not only will you see those gains and get shredded, but it's also a healthy way to release any pent up tension from a sore loss.
Studies show that after 5 minutes of walking, your brain regenerated and becomes more active, which will help improve your focus! If you have money to spend, amp it up with some free weights or a static exercise bike, and watch your ranking skyrocket.
5. U MAD BRA?
Part of gaming (especially competitively) is getting under the other player’s skin to throw them off and have them make mistakes. The best gamers are always cool-headed and keep emotions out of it as best they can. That's not to say unleashing a 120-damage-combo on a WiFi player out of pure anger that they didn't invest £5.99 in a cable isn't satisfying, but letting a person on the internet get to you can ruin the experience. Be the troll slayer not the troll!
Gaming is about fun and learning. Of course, a lot of players are motivated by winning but if you're ever going to improve, you have to take losses on the chin. If you find the chat is full of toxic players, maybe put a mute down and just get on with it solo. Better yet, team up with some people of your skill level with similar motivation. The social structure can really help you build new friendships and make the game feel more inviting than the alt-f4 machine that a lot of games have become.
6. STRETCH THOSE LIMBS!
Sitting in one position for a prolonged period of time is terrible for your physical health. If you've been sitting at a desk all day, then stand up and get that blood flowing! Sitting hunched over is also terrible for your back and neck, so keep that posture in check with a few stretches and some good lumbar support.
7. NUTRITION MISSION!
This is common sense more than anything: necking Gfuel and Doritos isn't going to make you feel great. So switch out all of your unhealthy choices for ones that will make your body happy. Water is always the best choice; no sugar, just pure biofuel ready to keep you going. If you're a streamer, this is especially important as talking for a long time without properly hydrating will dry your throat, and you will end up sounding like Tom Waits after a heavy night. So get sippin'!
When it comes to food, aim to get your 5 a day and balance your diet correctly with a mixture of starches, proteins and fibres. The body can't function at its fullest if you aren't fuelling it correctly!
Thanks for reading! If this article has inspired you to make a positive change, take a look at some tips from the NHS that will help you get where you need to go and have you nailing quickscopes across the map before you know it!
About the Author
Kyle is a gaming enthusiast with a passion for gaming's history, particularly in the FGC as the top player among his cousins in the late 90's. With a mashing technique like no other, he soon fell prey to the online community that now wipes the floor with him along with his dream of ever getting good. He is an avid variety streamer with a keen interest in the gaming community as an aspiring commentator and content creator with a focus on comedy, fun and having lovely old time.