eSports are one of the biggest outlets for people’s competitive energy in the past several years, with an absolute surge of growth coming from the recent pandemic and associated lockdowns. While rec-leagues and intermural sports have been on the decline, eSports has continued its meteoric rise to the mainstream.
That said, eSpots interacts with physical health in different ways than traditional sports, especially at the amateur level. While traditional sports keep players moving and get them into better physical shape, eSports can lead to the opposite effect in these cases, with some players who get into eSports having health issues that follow them for a lifetime.
The CAN is Key
eSports are stationary, and the video games behind them are often a relaxation opportunity for the people playing them. As such, eSports has picked up a perception of being an inherently unhealthy space. This perception is also strengthened by the sponsors that eSports has, with brands like Energy Drinks, Chips and Sodas being some of the main sponsors for eSports.
This all said, eSports aren’t actually inherently lazy or associated with junk food, in fact, it’s often the opposite. Though there are certainly some players who break the mold, many eSports players have a good amount of physical exercise built into their training regimen. There are clear connections between physical health and mental quickness, which is one of the main things that eSports players need to focus on. That means that many of them stay in good, if not great shape in order to preform at the top level.
This is also compounded by the fact that eSports competitions are often more of a marathon than a sprint. Most popular eSports genres have events where matches are between three to five hours long with only short breaks in between. This means that professionals can’t afford to have low energy and start getting tired after a little bit of gameplay.
All of this boils down to physical health being an important piece of anyone who’s looking to get into eSports routine. It’s not something that you can afford to skip if you’re looking to compete on a reasonable level. That said, it can be hard to maintain your health and work on a stationary skill for as long as eSports demands, so here are some key tips to keep you moving and healthy even if you’re trying to get to the top level.
1. Proper Nutrition
Beyond eating properly in normal circumstances. Having the right kind of food around is essential to falling into one of the main traps that can come alongside long gaming sessions. Junk foods like chips and soda are convenient and can end up being the main food that you ear during gaming sessions, but this is a recipe for health problems down the line. There are many people who cut serious gaming from their lives, and then say it made them healthier when really it was cutting the junk food that did the magic.
The biggest way to combat this is to have healthy food easily accessible during gaming sessions. Most of the time, you are going to want to grab food quickly between rounds when you’re practicing or gaming with friends. Having a water bottle nearby, or pre-portioned snacks can bring healthy foods up to the same level of convenience as junk foods. Simply put, you’re not going to take the time to slice a cucumber between rounds of solo queue.
2. Protect Your Eyes
eSports can sap energy because they are mentally taxing, but beyond that they are closely related to blue light and other eye strainers. In small amounts, blue light is fundamentally fine and there are no dangers to engaging with it, but if you’re looking at blue light for hours and hours a day, for example if you’re preparing for an event, then it’s going to have some adverse effects.
Many people report headaches associated with looking at their screen all day, but beyond that, blue light can have a drastic effect on your sleep patterns. Blue light is attention grabbing and keeps people awake, and this effect doesn’t go away as soon as you turn the screen off. If you game until the early hours of the morning and then expect to just go straight to sleep it’s not going to happen.
Aside from leaving more time between gaming and sleeping, the best thing you can do is install apps that will change your screen color to avoid blue lights in the evening, and start wearing blue-light glasses. The glasses are much more affordable for people who don’t need a traditional eye prescription, but they are a fantastic tool for avoiding eye strain during the day.
Along the same lines, it’s always better to play in a well-lit room. Transitioning between complete darkness and a bright screen is extremely hard on your eyes and is going to lead to headaches over time. Working in a well lit room will help keep your eyes adjusted to the screen even when you’re looking away.
3. Do Something Else
It might seem like weird advice for getting better at eSports, but similar to studying, playing the same game over and over all day every day isn’t going to result in the best performance. You can take this break that will help your gameplay and use it as a reason to move. As we mentioned above, eSports professionals often work their bodies as well as their gameplay skills to ensure that they aren’t falling short in-game. The break time that your mind needs can be used one activities that keep you moving.
Keep in mind that moving doesn’t mean you need to go to the gym and work out (Though you absolutely can.) It just means that you need to get out of your chair and spend time moving your body. Something as simple as a walk occasionally while gaming will lead to improved health as you keep your body moving. This is doubly true if you are currently in school or work a sedimentary job where you’re spending most of the day sitting down.
Once again, this also helps improve your gameplay because doing the same thing over and over with no break in between leads to broken attention, and there are no eSports that won’t be improved by having improved attention, and thus reaction time and game sense.
There are many ways beyond just these three for keeping yourselves fit, happy and healthy while being involved in eSports. Though lots of people perceive eSports and health as opposites, that’s far from the truth and it’s simple to have your health and eSports aspirations work in tandem.