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Five Tips for a Healthier Gaming Lifestyle

30 September 2020

Gaming requires intense focus and concentration. No wonder gamers lose themselves while being in the zone. Truthfully, there is nothing wrong with that. Video games can be rewarding and educational if done with the right tools and in an ideal setting.

But too much gaming can have negative implications on physical and mental wellness. Video game addiction is something that you should be on the lookout for. Attractive and sophisticated games can be addictive according to this New York Times article.

The Washington Post article said that "games are deliberately designed, with the help of psychology consultants, to make players want to keep playing, and they are available on every platform — gaming consoles, computers, smartphones."

Video game addiction addles the brain and has emotional and physical manifestations. According to PsychGuides.com, gamers who suffer from this kind of addiction suffer from feelings of restlessness or irritability when not able to play; preoccupation with thoughts of past and future online activities; lying to friends about playing time, and isolation from others for more gaming hours.

The physical symptoms of this addiction include fatigue, migraines, eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and poor personal hygiene.

Making amends

The lure of video games can be too strong for some. If you or a loved one feels any of the symptoms, it's best to consult a therapist before long-term consequences kick in. But if you want to do some self-check, you are welcome to make a few adjustments to stave off the negative effects of prolonged gaming. You can still develop new habits that will make you a healthy gamer. Here are some of the hacks that you can try today:

1. Stay hydrated -- Hydration is important for the body. After all, the human adult body is made up of 60 percent water. And not only that. According to the Us Geological Survey, the brain and heart are composed of 73 percent water, and the lungs are about 83 percent water. Meanwhile, the skin has 64 percent water, and muscles and kidneys have 79 percent. Even the bones are watery: They have 31% water too.

You can just imagine how your body suffers when you do not drink enough water. Water intake is different for everyone. Harvard Health Publishing said that water intake is individualized according to your activity, height, and gender. For the recommended water intake, read this article from Medical News Today.

If you know that your gaming session can be a little intense, you can be proactive by keeping water on hand at all times. Eliminate soda, coffee, or any sugary juices for proper hydration. When a body is hydrated, you feel healthier and more energetic.

2. Eat right -- Nutrition is a part of keeping the body healthy. You do not have to go on a strict diet but staying away from junk food will be beneficial for you. For starters, you can replace processed food with nuts or apples. For other snacking ideas, read this article.

3. Do some stretching -- If you feel a little sluggish as you play, you might take some to stretch your body. You can take a break while you wait for the other players to join your game or when you need to respawn. Put that time to good use by doing some push-ups or ab squeezes. You can also do some hand and wrist exercises if you want something lighter.

4. Have an ergonomic setup -- Aside from looking cool, an ergonomic gaming setup will help you to stay healthy. According to Mayo Clinic, prolonged sitting is for the body and is a major culprit of obesity, increased high blood pressure, and high blood sugar, excess fat around the waist, and high cholesterol levels. All these symptoms lead to metabolic syndrome. If you have a height adjustable desk, you have the opportunity to sit and stand the whole day. You don't even have to move much -- a simple click will make the desk move to your preferred height. You can also add an under desk bike if you really want to score your fitness goals.

5. Get some shut-eye -- To make this happen, you have to set a time limit for your gaming. Try to stop playing an hour before bedtime so your eyes can adjust. Aside from that, you also have to make sure that you do not take your gadgets inside the bedroom. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion said that a good night's sleep leads to less stress, better memory, and enhanced mood, among others.

A healthy body is the best prize

Prioritizing physical and mental wellbeing is important. Take care of your health so you can have more time to improve the quality of your life as well as your craft.