As a 31 year old man, I’ve been through several stages in my life: the hardcore runner, the night owl, the gym rat, and the binge TV watcher. Oh, and let’s not forget my Cadbury Egg obsession. Throughout these stages my weigh has gone as high as 230lbs and as low as 160lbs. I’ve spent the past year at healthy weight with healthy eating and exercise habits. The one constant: I’ve always been a gamer. I’d like to dispel the myth that Gamers can’t be healthy. Here are 5 tips to keeping your ticker strong, your weight manageable and your social-life alive while still enjoying your favorite games.
- Priorities - A hard and fast rule I have is family and friends are always first. Regardless of how excited I am for the latest and greatest game, it’ll always be there. I’ve developed a healthy habit of going to bed at 9p and waking at 5a to workout, game, and slowly start my day instead of rushing once the alarm rings. It sounds brutal, but give it a shot. You may find your stress levels reduced and feeling less guilty for skipping out on family/friend time.
- Use a timer - When it is time to game use a stopwatch to keep your sitting time down to no more than 60 minutes. We all have games we love and can’t pull away from, so if part of your mental happiness is a 4-hour session every once in a while, have at it. But it’s good to get up and stretch your muscles for 120-seconds every 60 minutes. This will protect so many critical areas of your body that gaming abuses: your back, your wrists and fingers, and your neck. An advanced step is to extend your rest to five minutes and do jumping jacks. I aim for 100 straight and as many sets as I can before my break is over. Note: if you’re playing Dark Souls, Bloodborne, etc. I suggest finding a very secure hiding place in-game since pausing the game is impossible.
- Try standing - I am primarily a PC-gamer, but something I love about consoles is that I can stand while I play. Be sure to bend your knees on occasion and do follow step #2 if you aim to stand. I also stand a lot at work while in meetings or in my office. I’ve seen some folks go as far as to attach their laptop to a treadmill so they can walk and type. That’s pretty cool. An advanced tip is to hop on a stationary bike while gaming. Again, this works better with a controller. It’s a little awkward at first but you’ll quickly adapt. This does not replace exercise but it certainly removes the sedentary-nature, and criticism, of gaming.
- Bring a pitcher – I strongly suggest drinking eight 16-oz glasses of water a day. I now drink a lot of water while at my desk or gaming because I bring an abundance with me. Why is water important? It regulates our body temperature, helps us digest and greases up our muscles!
- Plan with friends - My closest friends are busy people. That makes it a challenge to physically meet up for anything, including games. And with all of the great people I’ve met through Geeks With Wives, there are thousands of miles between us, including some that are on the other side of the planet. It’s become an absolute joy to play games with my friends. You have to find the right game, sure, but I’ve purchased games on a hunch and have been very surprised at how much fun they are with friends. Examples included Heroes of the Storm, League of Legends, and Marvel Heroes 2015. Consoles like the Wii U are great if you can get your friends together in one room. Or if you want to play games with your family.
Hopefully these few tips can be of help to you. After experiencing a rejuvenation in all aspects of my personal health, I felt compelled to write about it. Let me know what you think!