For many of us, gaming is a way of life, but like all lifestyle choices, it has its pros and cons regarding health. The pros: Gaming can boost learning, mood and social skills. The cons: Unbalanced gaming can lead to dopamine addiction, depression, aggression and obesity, with its side effects of lower testosterone, slower reaction times and mental fogginess. The good news is that the key to a healthy, stress-free gaming lifestyle is in your hands.
Whether you play PUBG, Apex Go, League of Legends, CS:GO or online casino games, it’s all a question of finding the right balance so you can enjoy the entertainment you love while remaining healthy and active. Read our tips and ideas for a healthy living program.
1. Take care of your body
Exercise is imperative for gamers who want to stay healthy and active. As a general rule, you should aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day. One reason is cortisol, a hormone associated with stress. Long hours in front of the screen can raise the levels of cortisol in your body. But don’t worry: You don’t have to suddenly get all serious and join a gym! Low-intensity exercise such as a light walk, a stretching routine, a beginner’s yoga workout or swimming can help to reduce cortisol levels. You can get similar benefits from light gardening, vacuuming, yard work, washing windows, mopping or even washing the car, as these household chores are also considered low-intensity exercise.
In addition to these general principles, you can benefit from doing a few stretches in between gaming sessions. A good stretch to relax your thumbs and fingers goes like this: Make a fist, flex your wrists towards your forearm, and open your hand gently. Repeat five to 10 times.
Other stretches that are good to learn include the thumb extensor stretch, cross-body stretch, chest-to-arm stretch, external bicep stretch, tricep stretch and backward arm stretch. Search Google for example videos.
Another important thing to take care of is your eyes. Most people overlook how much strain gaming puts on your peepers. To avoid headaches, nausea and potential eye damage, try the 20-20-20 rule: Look at something 20ft away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Your eyes will thank you, and your gaming performance will probably improve.