If you love nothing more than whiling away the hours of the day on your preferred gaming device, then you need to keep reading.
Although gaming does have its benefits, including having the ability to improve your critical thinking skills, aid social interaction, and help you practice hand to eye coordination, as with most habits, if you do not practice moderation, you will start to suffer health implications.
From experiencing eye strain to developing bad posture, there are many pitfalls of extreme gaming that you need to make sure you avoid. Fortunately, if you want to continue to indulge in your love of gaming but without any detrimental effects on your health, this can be done, and here’s how you are going to do it.
Take regular breaks
Although this may be easier said than done, especially if you are at a crucial part of a game, it is vital that you take regular breaks from gaming if you want to safeguard both your physical and mental wellbeing.
If possible, try and get some fresh air when you take a break from gaming, rather than just switching to another device. You need to get the oxygen flowing through your body and to your brain, and the simplest way to do this is with a brisk walk around the block. Make sure you swing your arms, take lots of deep breaths and generally take in, and enjoy the natural surroundings.
There is only so much being confined to one room that a person can take without their body showing signs of distress.
Switch up your games
It can become all too easy to become obsessed with completing a particular game, with hardcore gamers playing morning, noon, and night in a bid to get ahead. However, and this is especially the case when it comes to the most stressful video games, it is not good for your mental health to become obsessed with any one game.
In fact, “games stress” can lead to aggressive outbursts, trouble sleeping, and can even have a negative effect on your relationships. Therefore, it can be a good idea to switch between more stressful video games and ones that are more lighthearted and easier to play. Alternatively, you could indulge in a non-digital game such as cards or a board game for a more calming activity.
Actively prevent eye strain
You must know that spending hour upon hour staring at a screen is not good for your eye health. However, did you know that when gaming you often forget to blink, which can cause a whole host of long-term vision problems.
To avoid future eye problems, try to look at another object (not the screen) at least once every 20 minutes for 20 seconds. This object should be at least 20 yards away from you for this to be effective.
Also, if your eyes start to feel dry, irritated, or tired, then take a break until they start to feel normal again.
You could also try blue light glasses. A study by the University of Houston concludes 58% melatonin increase by wearing blue light glasses.
Practice good posture
Prolonged time in front of any screen can lead to poor posture, which in turn can cause back, shoulder, and neck pain. If you are guilty of gaming hunched over your laptop or sitting slouched in a chair, then you could already be experiencing some of the side effects of bad posture.
Fortunately, you can rectify this and reduce your risk of future problems by investing in a good, sturdy chair that supports your body as you game. Or you could opt for a bean bag chair that naturally molds to the shape of your body and helps keep your spine aligned.
If you often feel tension or tightness in your shoulders, arms, lower back, and legs when gaming or after a long gaming session, this is probably because you have failed to stretch your muscles.
Although you may not think of gaming as overtly physical activity, it does put a strain on your muscles and joints, especially if you are playing for long periods of time. Therefore, you need to make sure you take the time to stretch.
Aim to stretch the above-mentioned parts of your body before and after a gaming session. It can also be beneficial to stretch out your arms while playing. This can be done while you are waiting for a screen to load.
Focus on good nutrition
Unfortunately, the act of gaming lends itself well to snacking. It is a lot easier to keep playing while shoving potato chips in your mouth than it is to play and eat a bowl of pasta. However, if you want to keep your brain and your body fighting fit, you need to make sure you are adequately fueling yourself.
Try to eat a balanced diet that is abundant in fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a mix of whole grains, proteins, carbs, and healthy fats. You should also try to avoid too many caffeinated drinks, especially energy drinks that can contain not only too much caffeine but also far too much sugar.
Being a hardcore gamer can be tiring, and it may be that you are not getting as much sleep as you need. Therefore, as briefly mentioned above, you may be relying on energy drinks to get you through a long night of gaming. Now, you may think that you need caffeine to give you energy, but you will be surprised at just how more energetic and invigorated you will feel once you have given it up. Although be warned, if you currently drink a lot of caffeine, you will most likely experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms that can include headaches, sore joints, neck pain, and trouble sleeping.
Aim to drink eight glasses of water a day and try to sip consistently rather than down huge amounts in one sitting. Common signs of dehydration include a dry mouth, dry skin, feeling dizzy, dark yellow urine, and confusion or irritability.