Gaming is a fun pastime, but it’ll only stay fun if you keep yourself healthy enough to enjoy it for years to come. Nourish your body properly and give it time away from screens to relax and repair. If you start taking excellent care of yourself, you may notice that your mood and energy levels improve, too
Gaming has become one of the most popular pastimes in the last few decades. The world contains around 3.24 billion self-proclaimed gamers, all people who take comfort in fictional worlds or pave their paths through a story. With gaming being so interactive and engaging, it can be hard to pull yourself away or take care of yourself as you need to. Try out these tips to keep yourself healthy through your long gaming sessions and beyond.
1. Take Breaks
When you’re gaming for multiple hours in a row, your body is bound to feel it. When you start to feel like you’re getting stiff or can’t remember the last time you stood up, take a break. Use your break time to stay away from technology, as tempting as it may be to check your phone. This practice gives your eyes a rest from straining against technology, and you can take the time you need for a bathroom break or rehydrate yourself.
2. Sit Up Straight
Gaming doesn’t always mean you have the best posture. You should watch your posture, especially when in front of electronic devices. When you angle your head the wrong way for hours at a time, you apply more pressure to your neck than necessary, rivaling the weight of a child. If you’re gaming on a couch, try to adjust your posture and sit up straight. If you play from a chair, make sure the one you’re using supports your body well.
3. Hydrate Adequately
Many gamers turn to energy drinks and other liquids laden with sugar to keep their energy levels high while gaming. While these drinks can give you a boost, they aren’t the greatest for your body and don’t give you much nourishment. Opt for water instead — you can always mix in flavor powder if you don’t like the taste of plain water.
Lots of people try to follow the eight cups of water a day rule, but how much water you need depends on several factors like your height, weight and activity level. If you’re concerned, talk to your doctor about the water requirements your body needs.
4. Take Care of Your Teeth
Your teeth are one of the most important parts of your body. If you don’t care for your oral hygiene, you might get toothaches or other preventable issues that could affect your body as a whole. Poor oral hygiene can lead to tooth decay, but it can also affect the rest of your body by keeping you at risk for other diseases. You should aim to brush at least twice a day, and brush thoroughly, not just the spots you can see.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is your body’s time to relax. It’s best not to use any technology for a while before your bedtime so that you can transition easily into sleep. Set a “winding down” period where you can ensure that you unplug from your gaming setup and start preparing for bed.
You’ll want to aim for around seven or eight hours a night if you’re an adult and more than that if you’re a teenager. Getting enough sleep ensures that your body will function properly in the days ahead.
6. Snack on Wholesome Foods
Instead of snacking on processed foods while playing games, consider swapping them out with healthier options. Opt for an apple instead of potato chips if you’re searching for something with a crunch factor. You can even make chips by baking kale. Find a sugar-free substitute for your favorite candy — or if you need a dose of sugar, consider eating some naturally sweet fruit instead.
7. Eat a Balanced Diet
Even if you don’t change your snacking habits, you should consider eating balanced meals to offset the processed foods. Healthy foods can make you feel stronger and give you the proper energy you need for long gaming sessions.
To best safeguard your health, focus on eating lean meats and other proteins, fruits and vegetables. Since you aren’t very active while you’re gaming, you don’t need a ton of carbohydrates, but you shouldn’t cut them from your diet entirely. A balanced diet consists of all food groups in moderation, with healthier foods being more plentiful.
8. Find an Active Game
Gaming can take up a lot of time, so if you’re dedicated to getting in a few hours of games every night, you may not find yourself as active as you want. Consider picking up a game that requires you to be involved, such as “Just Dance,” which can get your whole body moving.
You also have the option to go for “Ring Fit Adventure,” a popular Nintendo Switch game that lets you progress through a fantasy world by keeping you active. Active games will help you feel good about yourself while also giving you the pride of accomplishing something.
9. Wear Blue Light Protection
Staring at a screen for hours on end can mess with your eyes and impair your vision. Consider focusing on something far away for around 20 seconds after every 20 minutes of gameplay. By following this 20-20-20 method, you can safeguard your eyes against some damage.
Another option is to wear blue light protection. Some special glasses, with or without prescription, can limit the amount of blue light rays that your eyes take in. If you’re planning to sit down for a more extended gaming session than usual, consider putting on a pair of these glasses to protect your eyes.
10. Improve Your Social Life
When you spend hours gaming, you’re away from your phone or other people who may want to talk to you. Instead of gaming alone, try to pull your loved ones into your favorite game with you. Whether you play co-op or competitive, you’ll have a fun time socializing with friends and family while introducing them to your interests.
Having a thriving social life could be linked to being healthier. When you have a great support system, you can feel more confident and more likely to accomplish your goals. Gaming with your loved ones might be an excellent stress relief.
11. Remember to Stretch
Reduce stiffness in your joints by stretching now and then. When you work at a desk, you’re supposed to take short breaks every hour or so. Why should it be any different when gaming? Giving yourself a break means allowing time for stretching.
Research some stretches for your hands and push in the direction you aren’t using them. For example, if you find your thumbs stiff from clamping down on the controller too long, you may choose to bend your thumbs back or rotate them to alleviate some of the soreness.
12. Stand Up
When you’re sitting for a long time, you open yourself to risks you may not have been aware of. Sedentary lifestyles can lead to more blood clots in your legs, leading to more complications or even death.
Make time to move during your gaming sessions, and stand up if you can. While it may be challenging to stand up and game with PC setups, you can easily stand up when playing on a console. Move around and pace a bit to get the blood flowing, especially if you’ve been sitting for a long time.
13. Care for Your Mental Health
Even your favorite game can take a toll on your mental health. If you find yourself becoming overly sensitive to the events that happen while you’re gaming — whether it’s the topics in the content or the frustration of PvP matches — it might be time to step away for a bit. Do something else to refresh your mind so you can come back to your game with a renewed mood.
14. Rest Your Eyes
If your eyes start to hurt while gaming, it should be time to take a break and rest them. Allow your eye muscles to relax by pausing your game and leaning back. Close your eyes and just rest for a few minutes, allowing your eyes to relax from any straining they had been doing. After a few minutes of letting your eyes rest, you can get right back to gaming while feeling fresh.
15. Start Today
The best thing you can do for your health is to start now. When you’ve already done the damage, making adjustments later on won’t help you prevent the adverse outcomes you could potentially face. You can choose to make changes one step at a time. Each step forward is a move toward a better and brighter future.
Get Your Head in the Game
Gaming is a fun pastime, but it’ll only stay fun if you keep yourself healthy enough to enjoy it for years to come. Nourish your body properly and give it time away from screens to relax and repair. If you start taking excellent care of yourself, you may notice that your mood and energy levels improve, too.