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5 steps to stay healthy while gaming

Gaming is a wonderful way to blow off steam while immersing yourself in a new world or universe, but it is important to keep an eye on your real-life health bar too.

Follow these five simple tips for a better, healthier and more optimised gaming experience.

A computer desk with black monitor in the background, the black xbox 360 controller is covered in Doritos, the keyboard is coated in Doritos dust, a half full pizza box is being used as a mousepad for a greasy mouse and a water glass full of ice is spilling over the keyboard while a water bottle on a podium looks on.
… I’m so sorry

5: Stop greasing your gear(s)

We all do it.

Looking for fuel you raid the kitchen in-between games and run back to your consoles and computers with hands full of junk food and drink.

Advertising sold us all the lie that to have a good time playing games we needed to be hopped up on energy drinks and nutritiously dubious snacks.

Not only does this junk not fill the nutritional need for hours of intense concentration; sugary energy drinks and oily snacks like chips can very easily ruin your game by wrecking your peripherals. 

Peripherals being a fancy throwback term for the devices connected to your PC that inputs and outputs information, like your keyboard or headset.

If you are going to fuel up while you play, make sure you do it right.

Use utensils to keep your hands and peripherals clean and put your snacks and beverages in spill-proof containers so they won’t go flying all over your setup if you get tilted.

A see-through water bottle with red words and lid on a brass plinth next to a black Xbox controller and sword against a white background.

4: The water bottle is mightier than the sword … and the controller

Fear not, I’m not here to lecture you on the benefits of staying hydrated.

I’m just here to remind you that staying hydrated doesn’t include drenching your keyboard. 

I can’t tell you how many hundreds of dollars I’ve spent over the years replacing liquid damaged peripherals.

So what’s the solution? The humble water bottle.

These bad boys store larger volumes of water than a glass does and new ones generally have self-sealing caps that won’t leak.

You won’t be stressing if you knock your water bottle over as you would with a coffee mug or glass of water in the middle of a shootout.

Treat your hydration solutions like you would any other gaming accessory; research and invest in a water bottle that works for you. 

Two black headsets linked together on a white background.

3: Friends who slayer together stay together                        

It’s easy to forget about the real world when you’re deep in a new game, that’s part of the appeal but also a potential problem. 

Consider using platforms like discord to voice chat with mates who might be playing the same game as you.

Playing games while on voice chat with friends means you have an active lifeline to the outside world while you explore a new one. 

Not only will chatting with friends playing the same game elevate your collective experience, but it also means you can keep an eye on each other. 

Think of it like having a gym buddy, gaming with a mate allows you both to keep each other accountable.

If your mate has been playing for hours nonstop all day you are the person best placed to give them a gentle reminder to take a break.  

A silver alarm clock against a white background
Photo by Joan Tran on Unsplash

2: Ditch the time limit

Ever caught yourself thinking or saying “Five More Minutes” when you’re deep in a game?

Time limits are an archaic idea from a time when you could pause games and your teammate was sitting on the same couch as you.

If setting time limits haven’t been super effective for you in the past, try training your brain to spot the opportunities for natural breaks in games. 

Once you do you will see that natural breaks in games are everywhere:

  • Just finished a ranked match? Natural break.
  • Complete a dungeon or finish a quest? Natural break.
  • Level up or reach a new hub where you can safely log or go AFK? Natural break.

Successfully identifying these natural breaks helps disrupt that cycle of continuous play while also providing opportunities for you to do the things you have been putting off.   

A green tent with a big red X drawn on it.
Original photo by Triston Dunn on Unsplash

1: Don’t camp

If there is one benefit of the increased popularity of video gaming, it is the light that is now being cast on the life-threatening risks of blood clots. 

Research from peer-reviewed medical journals including the Oschner Journal have started to explore the risks associated between prolonged periods of sedentary gaming and blood clots. 

And the message on blood clots is clear, the Australian Governments Natural Health and Medical Research Council say that:

“Not moving increases your risk of blood clots. Normally blood flows quickly through veins without clotting. In the legs, muscle movements help to push the blood by squeezing the veins. But if you are not walking around for some time—for example, in bed at a hospital—blood flow can become sluggish and allow a clot to form.” 

That is why managing your time when playing games is important, the easiest thing you can do to prevent blood clots is to move, don’t be a camper. 

So there it is! 5 things every gamer should know before picking up the controller. So go and turn on your consoles and play some games, just try to implement these tips!

Photos by Liam Jennings