We all like video games. They are fun, exciting, and relaxing all at the same time. But like any other activity, when done in excess, the ugly sides of it come out in the open. When played in moderation, all is well, but when people spend too much time in front of their screens, it can have negative health consequences, as well as eat-up time that could be used otherwise. This is why developers have come with up ways to make playing a more health-promoting endeavor. In this article, we are going to help you make the best of your downtime, both for your mind and body.
Set A Time Limit, And Stick To It
In the scientific community, the consensus is that it matters not how many hours are you playing, but how much does it interfere with your day-to-day life and commitments. The long-term consequences are less clear, but when looking at the single-day window it becomes apparent that unless gaming subsidies for life obligations such as employment, school, and physical activity, there is no black-and-white evident harm.
Some professionals are presenting evidence that says that play-time should be limited to one to two hours max(especially in children and adolescents). Others are less strict and draw the theoretical limit at five hours. Those who provide the most leeway, with no maximum cap on time, still emphasize that the most important part of it is that it shouldn’t interfere with day-to-day life.
Half of the US population are active video game players. Most of them work 9-5 jobs, which means that they get a lot of free time away from work, anywhere between 3-8 hours that they can do whatever they find worth their time. Problem gambling is defined by how it affects a person’s life, but if someone is playing over five hours a day there is almost an absolute likelihood that it’s impacting their life in a negative way. The main takeaway is that you should set your own time limit for gaming and stick to it, and if you are unable to do so, you may be developing a gaming addiction, which is an emerging crisis in the modern world.
Don’t Ruin The Fun By Straining Yourself
Gamers often face problems such as pain in the back, neck, wrists, hands, and other parts of the body. As it’s a long list, you better make sure you are not getting any of that at all. After all, you are playing to have fun and not suffer unnecessarily. Of course, not all of it can be attributed to gaming, but also to a lack of exercise. So make sure you are getting your weekly quota of 150 hours of physical activity a day, and then you can tend to your gaming posture and so on.
A surprisingly good way to get some cardio in is to play some sort of a video game that involves physical activity, and that’s exactly what the Nintendo Switch Console is offering you right now. Take the controller in your hands, and dance, box, and run while playing video games at the very same time. A friend of mine from Japan wrote an excellent list of games for beginners to try out.
It was thought in the past that it is best to sit with an upright back, in a highchair with your knees below your hips, but this largely outdated idea has finally been disproven. The now held belief is that you should sit in a position that is comfortable to you, and change it as soon as it becomes less so (about 20-25 minutes on average).
A common issue for gamers are prolonged periods of playing with no breaks. And while you may play for 3 hours without a stop with no apparent harm, the evidence is clear that it’s not good for you in the long run. Every 20 minutes, you should turn your eyes away from the screen for at least 20 seconds, and preferably even longer than that. Do some eye exercises such as eye rolls, look at various distances and angles, and return to playing.
The setup is also paramount. Make sure you have a quality screen that doesn’t hurt your eyes and adjust so it’s suitable for your environment. You want it to be at the right brightness settings (which is the same level as your room), at a distance of a full-arms length, and with good lighting at an appropriate position in your room (a little behind the screen, and overhead). A common mistake is placing a monitor in front of the windows, which will make for horrible glare from the screen and even worse eye pain for the individual. Either move the monitor or shut the blinds so you don’t see any sunlight. Learn more about what you can do for your eyes here.