Gaming can take a serious toll on your body.
Okay, stay with me here.
Even though you’re just sitting, any kind of prolonged activity can be detrimental to your health, and gaming is engrossing enough to have you lost in the moment for hours, until your eyes are burning and you’re ten pounds heavier.
And hey, that’s cool, because guess what — you don’t have to give up the game to avoid insomnia and catastrophic weight gain. With the most moderate dose of moderation ever and some simple self care, you can stay plugged in as long as you want (PROMISE).
#1 — Stay Hydrated
I don’t care how much you hate leaping up to pee, I don’t care that it’s live play and you can’t pause — good lord man, drink some water.
Even just the simple act of staying hydrated will make you less likely to develop migraines, muscle cramps, eye strain, carpal tunnel — you name it, so drink up.
Ideally, you need to be getting about 64 ounces a day, so to be sure you get it all, ration it out and put it within arm’s reach before you start the tournament.
#2 — Get Enough Sleep
Insomnia is a mega problem among gamers, thanks in part to the blue light screens emit that blocks melatonin production, but also because gaming is so crazy stimulating. Basically, your brain is in a constant state of flight or fight, and that can be really hard to wind down from.
To combat this, take all of the advice in this article, but namely, prioritize sleep. Set a cut-off time for yourself to absolutely, 100% shut things down for the day, so you can rest assured you get at least seven hours of shut-eye in. And yea, give yourself a 15 minute grace period if you need to wrap something up before you go, BUT NOT A MINUTE MORE.
#3 — Wear Blue-Light Blocking Glasses
That melatonin-blocking evil blue light is not something to mess with, so seriously, if you haven’t already, invest in some blue light blocking computer glasses. They’ll help you sleep better, can reduce the frequency of migraines and headaches, and generally give your eyes a much needed break from the glare of your screen.
We sell ‘em both with and without magnification — shop our computer glasses here.
#4 — Adjust Your Position Frequently
No, this doesn’t mean hiding behind the barracks with a grenade launcher, it means to stand and sit in combination. There is no one size fits all approach to staring at a screen all day in the most healthy way possible — the ideal scenario is always simply adjusting frequently.
Combination sit/stand desks are great for this, but it’s also helpful to prop your feet up from time to time, to sit cross-legged, to stand at your kitchen counter — whatever works for you. Just mix it up, and be sure to give your blood a chance to go places every once in awhile.
#5 — Snack for REAL
I don’t care how good Mountain Dew and Doritos are, they’re not food, man.
The bottom line is, whether you’re gaming or working, if you’re sitting in front of a screen for hours on end, your body is going to store most of what you consume, so at the very least, make those calories productive and nutritious.
High protein snacks like almonds, jerky, and protein bars are great for keeping migraines at bay, as well as filling your stomach, whereas toasted chickpeas and fresh fruit are better for mindless munching. Put together a fruit salad ahead of time, and your colon will thank you later for skipping the Pizza Rolls.
#6 — Take Breaks (No, Seriously)
Beat the boss, lead your team to victory, save your game, whatever you need to do, but take frequent breaks, and make them more than three minutes each.
At least every two hours, hop up from your screen to go outside, get some fresh air, pee, talk to a live human being — whatever floats your boat. It’ll give your brain and eyes a rest, as well as get the blood pumping again to the rest of your body.
#7 — Open a Window
For a lot of reasons, it’s a good idea to have some cross ventilation going when you’re going hard. Aside from the obvious issues of warm bodies being trapped in a confined space, being indoors a lot can be tough on your lungs and respiratory system.
Get some cross ventilation going in your gaming space, both to give your skin and lungs a break, and to carry any funk building up in the space out the window. It’ll give you the stamina to go hard, I promise.
#8 — Get Some Good Furniture
Don’t skimp on ergonomic furniture — that rocking gaming chair from Big Lots probably isn’t going to cut it if you’re in for the long haul. Get an ergonomic chair that provides adequate lumbar support, adjust your screen so your neck isn’t strained (because hello, slipped discs), and invest in a sitting/standing desk if you’re a computer gamer.
What are you doing to stay healthy while you game? Come on, time to fess up — tell us on Facebook or Instagram and tag us in the post! @jandsvision or #jandsvision