Gaming continues to grow in popularity, and with new ways to engage in social or individual game play available thanks to various technological devices, the frequency with which gamers engage in these recreational pursuits only increases.
In fact, a 2018 report by Limelight Networks found that gamers spend an average of 5.96 hours each week playing games.
Excessive gaming can pose a threat to gamers' overall health. The following physical and mental wellness tips can help gamers ensure they get to play without sacrificing their health.
Remember to blink. Staring at screens for long periods of time can cause serious eye strain. Sometimes, when immersed in the intensity of game play, a gamer may forget to blink his or her eyes, and this can lead to tired, dry eyes.
As with other screen usage, follow the 20-20-20 rule. Per the Canadian Association of Optometrists, every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away.
Take frequent breaks. Gamers should get up out of their seats and take breaks at regular intervals. This gives their eyes and ears a rest and allows them to stretch and reset their posture. Sitting for long periods of time can affect circulation and have adverse effects on the neck and spine as well.
Get some fresh air. Individuals should use break opportunities to go outside and get some fresh air and sunshine, if possible. The light and the clean air can improve energy levels and possibly help restore focus when it comes time to return to the game. Spending too many consecutive hours in a dark room can impact the brain and may affect how people learn, according to research led by Michigan State neuroscientists. Dim lights can make it hard to retain memories, while bright light boosts information retention and mood.
Stretch hands and wrists. Maintaining overall good posture and stretching hands and wrists can offset complications of carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition that can affect mobility in the wrists and lead to inflammation and pain.
Recognize addiction. People can get addicted to gaming just as they would to any other activity or substance. Novelty addiction is prolonged time spent on video games, the internet or smartphones. Research indicates these novelties can trigger various psychological responses in the brain, and people grow accustomed to chasing those triggers. Incorporate other activities into one's day so that gaming is not the end-all.
People can enjoy gaming in a safe and healthy way by incorporating various wellness strategies into their gaming routines.