We all know that sitting in front of a screen all day is not good for our health. Whether that screen is because of work, TV, social media or gaming – the adverse effects that it can have on our health are well-documented.
However, with a bit of careful preparation and management, you can still binge-play on that new game that you have been waiting months for. Here, we look at some things to do keep yourself healthy while playing games.
Keep up with your medical appointments
Far too many of us are guilty of waiting for something to be wrong before going to get it checked out. However, as with most things, prevention is better than cure so keep on top of your regular medical appointments and check-ups. This includes things like hearing tests – especially if you are a regular nightclub goer or concert fan, or use headphones while playing, and opticians to keep on top of your eyesight. If you are staring at a screen for many hours a day, you may find that has caused damage to your eys, but don’t worry, you can still keep seeing the smart way!
You also need to go to the dentist at least once every six months and go to your general practitioner if there are any signs of something not being right. Any changes in your behavior may indicate that you are using gaming as a way of escaping and that there are deeper issues at play. If you feel like your mental health is declining, seek help as soon as you can.
Think about your diet
When you are getting into a new game, it can be tempting to ignore the fruit and veg and order a takeout or live off bags of chips and energy drinks and soda. While this isn’t going to hurt once in a while, eating and drinking like this all of the time is going to really impact on your health.
Before you settle down for a serious gaming session, prep yourself some healthy snacks. Maybe make a plate of sandwiches with some fruit, or cut up veg sticks and have them with your usual dip of choice. You can even get the guys around and make some homemade pizzas before you play. Just make sure to pile on the veg!
Get enough sleep
We all know what it is like to get really into something and before you know it, it is the middle of the night and you have not even thought about heading to bed, let alone sleep. Sleep is when our bodies recover and recuperate, and constantly depriving yourself of quality sleep can leave you feeling tired, lethargic and leave your immune system at rock bottom. Try to get seven or eight hours of sleep a night – in bed, not on the couch or the gaming chair. Avoid using screens for an hour before you intend to go to sleep to give your brain and body time to wind down and relax ready for restful sleep.
While your fingers might be getting plenty of exercises, the chances are your body isn’t. As little as fifteen minutes or so of rigorous exercise – enough to get your heart beating a little faster and leave you a little out of breath – can have huge benefits to your health. It also helps to get endorphins going, which is the feel good hormone. It will give you more energy and help to boost your mental health.
If you are sat in one position for many hours at a time while playing, you may find that you end up cramped and tense. Yoga and gentle stretching can help with this. It is also important to remember that sitting still for long periods of time can cause the formation of blood clots and deep vein thrombosis. Make sure that every twenty minutes or so you at least stand up, stretch your legs and give them a bit of a wiggle about.
Know when enough is enough
Gaming is a lot of fun, but occasionally, it can cause problems. If you find that you are shunning real-life interactions with people or neglecting school, work and your family for the thrill of a video game, it may be time to reevaluate whether it is causing you problems. Maybe take a few days away from it and see how you feel after a break. If you feel like it is causing issues, it may be time to talk to someone.
There is no reason why you cannot play games and be healthy at the same time. By living a healthy lifestyle and knowing when enough is enough, you can find a healthy balance between the two.