There’s nothing wrong with being an avid gamer – in fact, research suggests that gaming can actually have a lot of benefits for your health and wellbeing including lowering stress, improving mental health, bettering brain health, improving coordination and more. However, if you’re not taking proper care of yourself then it’s not only going to affect your gaming ability, but also other aspects of your life.
There are plenty of reasons why gamers should take the time to ensure that they are living a healthier lifestyle and looking after themselves well.
Sitting at a computer or console playing games might be fun, but if you’re not taking into account things like a lack of physical activity or sitting in an incorrect posture, then it might not be worth the stress and strain that it can put your body under. Here are some of the main things that you can do to improve your health and wellbeing while still enjoying your gaming hobby.
Take Regular Breaks
While its normal to be excited to play a new game, you don’t have to sit in front of the screen and play for the entire day. Gaming for hours at a time without taking breaks might be fun, but it’s bad for your posture and can lead to all kinds of problems like headaches, dry eyes and eye strain.
Taking a break when gaming is very important, so try and get up for a few minutes around every half an hour to get yourself some water, look away from the screen and stretch your legs.
Get Your Posture Right
Whether you like to game on a console, a gaming PC or have been considering getting a budget Lenovo gaming laptop, how you sit will make a huge difference to how you feel both during and after your gaming sessions.
If your posture is all over the place then this is putting you at a bigger risk of developing issues like back pain, shoulder pain and neck pain over time which are never nice for anybody to deal with. When gaming, it’s a good idea to adjust your setup so that you can easily sit in the right posture.
Gaming at a desk is a good way to do this, and an ergonomic gaming chair rather than slouching on the sofa can make all the difference. Keep your screen at eye level and sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor.
Make Sure You Eat Healthy Meals
When you’ve just bought a new game and you can’t tear yourself away from it, forgetting to eat properly can be much easier than you might think. Unless you’re lucky enough to live with somebody who prepares food for both of you and is OK with making sure that you eat while you’re gaming then chances are that you are responsible for preparing your own meals.
Taking the time to prepare something healthy and balanced that you can eat later when you start getting hungry mid gaming session is a great idea. This will help you avoid wasting your money and damaging your health by ordering greasy takeaways or even worse, going hours without eating a thing.
Make Some Time to Exercise
Most gamers will agree that they’ve been there when they’ve bought a new game and before they know it they’ve been sat in their gaming chair playing it for most of the weekend. Gaming can be a great way to pass the time and all that playing and socialising with your friends online can definitely be amazing for your mental health, coordination and brain cognition – but it needs to be balanced with exercises for your physical health too.
If you’re sitting down for hours per day gaming, then you’re in dangerous territory with a sedentary lifestyle that can lead to obesity and all the problems that come along with it, such as an increased risk of heart disease or stroke. Not to mention that the pressure that gaining weight can put on your joints might make you less comfortable when gaming, so the whole experience won’t be as enjoyable.
The good news is that you don’t need to become a marathon runner to exercise more. There are plenty of great ways to exercise at home and you could even include it in your gaming sessions if you have a console like the Wii Fit or PlayStation VR with games that are fun to play while getting you up out of your seat and moving.
Swap Your Snacks for Healthier Ones
For many gamers there’s nothing better than arranging a gaming night with friends either in-person or virtually, with a pile of snacks to get through while enjoying the game. However, while it’s easy to eat an entire family size bag of crisps or sweets while you’re gaming, too many of these high salt and high fat snacks are only going to damage your health in the long run.
While everything is fine in moderation, if you snack while you are gaming quite a lot, then your body will thank you for swapping some of your snacks out for healthier alternatives like chopped fruit, unsalted nuts and cereal bars with natural ingredients.
Have a Social Life Outside Too
Gaming is becoming increasingly more social but interacting virtually with your friends isn’t quite the same as getting outside and doing something together. Some gamers become so addicted to gaming that they rarely ever go outside, which isn’t great for your health.
While you’re probably not that bad, it’s important to be honest with yourself about how many hours you’ve spent holed up inside when the weather was nice, or how many social invitations you’ve turned down because you were gaming instead.
Getting outside, even if you just go for a walk around the park on your own or with a family member or friend, is great for your physical and mental health and will help you get your daily dose of vitamin D from the sun.
Gaming is a popular pastime with plenty of health benefits of its own. But it’s easier than you think for your physical health to suffer when you spend a lot of time gaming. So, keep these tips in mind to keep yourself healthy and well.
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