Millions of people all around the world like gaming because it provides hours of entertainment and stimulation. You may experience diverse worlds and challenges on consoles, PCs, and mobile devices. But, if you don’t strike a healthy balance in your life, gaming might harm your health. Too much gaming can lead to physical inactivity, poor nutrition, obesity, repetitive stress injuries, eye strain, and sleep deprivation which negatively impact your health and quality of life.
Thankfully, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle without giving up gaming. You can still take care of your health and mind while playing your favorite games. This article will show you how to mix gaming with physical exercise and good eating habits.
Why You Need Physical Activity
Our bodies were made to move. Sitting for a long time can make your muscles, joints, and bones can get stiff and sore. You may also have lower back pain, bad posture, less blood flow, and a higher risk of being overweight, developing diabetes, heart disease, and other long-term conditions.
Physical activity can help you prevent these problems by keeping your body fit and flexible. It can also boost your mood, energy, memory, creativity, and cognitive function. Studies show that exercise can improve attention span, reaction time, problem-solving skills, and mental flexibility.
Some of the benefits of physical activity include:
- Burning calories and fat
- Strengthening muscles and bones
- Improving cardiovascular health
- Enhancing immune system
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Increasing self-esteem and confidence
- Promoting better sleep quality
The World Health Organization recommends that adults aged 18 to 64 do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week². However, according to a CDC survey, only about one in four US adults met these guidelines in 2019³. Moreover, a study by UNH researchers found that college men who played video games for more than five hours per week exercised less than non-gamers.
How to Incorporate Physical Activity into Your Gaming Lifestyle
You don’t have to give up gaming to enjoy the benefits of physical activity. In fact, you can use gaming as a motivation to exercise more. Here are some ways to incorporate physical activity into your gaming lifestyle:
#1. Set a timer for every hour of gaming and take a 10-minute break to stretch or walk around. This will help you prevent muscle stiffness and eye strain.
#2. Try exercising while playing games that don’t require much concentration or coordination. For example, you can do jumping jacks, squats, lunges, push-ups, or sit-ups while waiting for a loading screen or respawning.
#3. Drink water instead of soda or energy drinks while gaming. Water will keep you hydrated, energized, and prevent dehydration headaches.
#4. Invest in interactive exercise video games that require physical movements such as dancing, boxing, or yoga. These games can be fun, social, and challenging.
#5. Join a sports team or club that meets regularly for physical activities such as soccer, basketball, or tennis. This will help you make new friends who share your interests and keep you accountable for your fitness goals.
Why You Need Healthy Eating Habits
Eating healthy is another important aspect of maintaining a healthy gaming lifestyle. It influences both mental and physical wellness. Nutritious foods contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients your body needs.
Some of the benefits of healthy eating habits include:
- Improving brain function
- Enhancing mood and emotional stability
- Boosting the immune system and preventing infections
- Supporting digestion and metabolism
- Preventing weight gain and obesity-related diseases
The 1995 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults should consume a variety of foods from different food groups: fruits; vegetables; grains; protein foods; dairy; oils; and limit added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.
How to Develop Healthy Eating Habits as a Gamer
Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite snacks or meals. It simply implies that you must make intelligent decisions regarding what, when, and how much you consume. Here are some suggestions for developing good eating habits as a gamer:
– Substitute unhealthy snacks like chips, cookies, candy, or drink with healthier alternatives such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, or yogurt. These healthy foods contain fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to keep your mind and body full and energetic.
Avoid binge eating when playing video games or watching television, since this can contribute to weight gain and overeating. Instead, eat regular meals at fixed times and pay attention to your hunger cues.
If you feel hungry between meals, have a small snack instead of skipping meals or overeating later. Plan ahead for your meals and snacks by preparing them in advance or buying them from healthy sources. This will help you avoid ordering fast food or junk food when you are hungry or busy. Always give preference to foods that are low in saturated fat.