When you hear the word “gamer” exercise isn’t exactly what comes to mind. Often we think of gamers as lazy, when it’s actually quite the opposite, at least at an elite level. Elite gamers are athletes and they do eSports training. They exercise quite frequently to get a competitive edge in gaming. But you don’t have to be an elite eSports athlete to exercise and reap the benefits. As a gamer, a healthy lifestyle can make you feel better, as well as play better. Here’s what you can learn from eSport athletes training.
The benefits of exercise for eSport athletes
It has long been known that exercise has many benefits. But only recently have people started to realize that the benefits of exercise often go hand in hand with the physical demands of a gamer. eSports athlete training involves regular exercise because it
- Improves cognitive function. In many video games you need to be able to think clearly as well as react quickly. Exercise helps increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain as well as enhancing neuroplasticity according to research by the NIH. Neuroplasticity is essentially how well the brain can learn from experience.
- Increases endurance, both mentally and physically. Some games like LoL can take upwards of 45 minutes, especially at higher levels, so mental and physical endurance is crucial. Exercise increases the level of mitochondria in the muscles and brain, which makes you more resistant to fatigue, both mentally and physically according to this study.
- Boosts your mood. Exercise makes you feel good. According to the American Psychological Association or APA, exercise helps with depression and anxiety. This is due to the fact that physical exercise causes your brain to release serotonin as well as dopamine, both of which increase your mood. Your attitude can really affect how you play, and someone who is constantly “tilted” most likely isn’t going to play at their best. Exercise is a great way to let off steam for those moments that are slightly rage inducing, like losing a gunfight to someone worse than you.
Exercises you can do
There are many exercises you can do to boost your cognitive function as well as your stamina and mood. eSport athletes training incorporates many of these exercises:
- Coming out the gate with your brain firing is important for gamers. There are a couple good ways you can warmup your brain before you game.
- Take a cold shower. Cold showers jumpstart your brain and body.
- Drink water. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just plain water from the tap. Staying hydrated keeps your muscles and joints working.
- Light stretches for your fingers, hands, and elbows. Something as simple as making the thumbs up gesture and then rotating your thumbs around can help stave of injuries.
- Because gamers are often sitting for long periods of time, exercises that help promote better posture are important.
- Some exercises you can do are child's pose, cat and cow, and side planks.
- Gamers don’t use their legs for long periods of time, that means exercises to keep your legs strong are essential.
- Squats are an excellent lower body workout, with and without weights. They are also great for the glutes.
- Running strengthens your lower body as well as your core and it’s a total body workout.
According to the CDC, 30 minutes of moderate activity a day, every weekday or 15 minutes a day of vigorous activity, five days a week is all you need. Some good moderate aerobic activities include going for walks, dancing, and bike riding. Some good vigorous aerobic activities include swimming, and intense workouts like lifting weights, pushups, and situps.
You may balk at having to put down the game controller for even 15 minutes, but there are still ways to sneak in exercise. One way is to do 10 push ups every time you die, or do a 30 second plank every time you lose a round. You’ll get in shape and get to play at the same time!
The general health benefits of exercise and why it’s important
Whether you’re trying to rise in the ranks of elite gamers or just trying to keep up with your 12-year-old, exercise will give you the energy and endurance you need. It will also help you maintain a healthy weight. Exercise and weight loss helps to lower harmful cholesterol levels and decreases the risk of a heart attack. Plus it keeps your mind sharp. All the better to trash talk opponents with!
The importance of a balanced lifestyle for eSports training
While exercise is very important, you’re not going to get results from exercise if you’re still eating 3 bags of Doritos a day. Dieting combined with exercise is really what you’re going for. A diet rich in protein, Omega-3s, antioxidants, magnesium, and fiber is key. Rez Bars have all four.
Another important element to balance is how much you play. It may seem counterintuitive, but it's better to have a meaningful six hour practice session than to play for twelve hours straight. When you practice in a focused way, you can identify your areas of weakness and actively try to correct them. When you are just grinding in the competitive mode of your game of choice, you aren’t working on the areas where you are weak, making it more difficult to improve your skills.
Finally, eSports athletes training also incorporates sleep. You’re not going to be any good if you’re falling asleep at the keyboard. Aim for at least eight hours a night and be sure to disconnect from your screens at least one hour before you go to sleep. The blue light emitted by computer screens can mess with your melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep.
Okay, let’s recap! You know all this already but it never hurts to have a reminder:
- It’s important to exercise regularly.
- There are many exercises you can do to help your body.
- Exercise has many beneficial effects on the body.
- Diet, focused practice, and sleep are just as important as exercise, and you should try to balance them all.
There are many ways you can get healthy, and no two people's path to a healthy body is going to be the same. It’s all about you, and what you want and need. And if you want to be a better gamer, it’s time to pay attention to esports athletes training.