fredag 20 augusti 2010

Why gaming as a lifestyle MIGHT hinder you in real life

The debate over whether gaming (Electronic gaming that is) is bad for your health or not will rage forever. Gaming in itself isn't bad for your health, but there are certain habits much more common among people that play a lot of games on their computers or their consoles. These are my own experiences and thoughts about this.

1. Sleeping disorders and sleeping rhythms

One of the most common problem for gamers in general, as far as my own experience goes and among my friends at the computer game development program at the university is the sleeping hours. I do not think its an overstatement to say that many gamers often go to bed at lets say around 4 in the morning.

The problem with having a rhythm like this is that you disturb the biological sleeping pattern that we all have. Or should have. Man is not meant to stay up this long for many nights in a row. If you go to bed after midnight you won't get as much high quality sleep as you would if you went to bed before midnight. Some of you might say, "I can sleep for as long as I want to so why does it matter"? And for some people this works but having a bad sleeping pattern (late nights, irregular sleeping pattern etc.) might have consequences that you do not realize.

From personal experience I can tell you these symptoms: (Although this can also be sign of a lot of other things)

* Feeling like you have no energy left even though you have slept for 10 hours or more. This is one of the most common consequences of sleeping at weird hours. You feel tired the next day and just want to stay in bed all day cause you feel so tired.

* An inability to go to sleep when you want to. This is also quite common, especially if your sleeping pattern is irregular with a lot of late nights.

* The inability to finish and start projects and having motivation.

* Losing interest in stuff that you ordinarily find interesting. Impatience with certain task leading to you failing them.

* Feeling restless.

* Sleeping more than whats common. Above around 9 hours that is.

2. Absurd intake of energy-drinks such as Red Bull, Jolt Coke , Coffee etc.

The more you consume of above the more you will need to get the same effect. This might reach a point where you feel like no matter how many Red Bulls you drink, you just don't get alert, rather even sleepier. Not everyone knows this but when you get used to a certain intake of these drinks the body will get a negative effect from drinking to "little" in relation to what you are used to. This will make you even more tired.

3. Bad food

We all love bad food, but the body doesn't. There are two very common stereotypes of "nerds". The very skinny one and the fat one. Bad food will make you feel tired, give you skin-problems such as acne. Your skin will feel much dryer and fatter at the same time. Bad food will also give you problems with your blood-sugar levels. The list could go on forever. I'll give some examples of bad food:

The Classics:

* A bag of Chips (300 grams): Did you know that one bag of chips (of this size) will give you almost 75 % of all the energy you need in one day? (The average guy, even higher for the average girl)

* One chocolate bar (200 grams): Did you know that 1 of these contains more than half of the energy you need in 1 day?

* Coffee (To much of it that is)

* Candy: Doh, surprise. What you may not realize is that sugar will raise your insulin levels and increase the percentage of fat that the body will store when eating something fat. Like Chips. Thats why it a very bad combination to eat a lot of chips and candy together :P

These are the most common ones :P Surprise huh? (Hamburgers, fries and fast food in general goes into this category too :P)

4. Not enough exercise

To feel as good as we possibly can, the human body needs daily exercise. Maybe not daily but regular exercise at least a few days every week. If you do not get enough exercise you may get a lot of problems. Including the the sleeping problems mentioned above. You might also get depressions, lowered self-esteem, hurting limbs such as elbows, knees etc.

Overall advice:

Get some exercise. Regular physical exercise will take care of a lot of the most common problems including sleeping problems. Make sure that you start slow though because being to ambitious will only make you fail. The body needs to get used to training otherwise you will "hit the wall" and start feeling like you really don't want to work out. The exercise itself will also feel heavier than usual.

Since I started working out 4 times a week at the gym I have much less problems falling asleep at night, I feel like I have more energy, I eat much better, I feel happier, and my sex-drive has multiplied haha :) You will also feel more focused and enjoy your gaming even more! And who doesn't want that :)

If you really don't want to exercise start eating at regular hours and high quality food. DO NOT skip breakfast. Eat often but smaller portions as this will give good blood-sugar levels throughout out the day.

Get the most out of your life! You only live once!
But for the love of god, don't stop gaming. ;)

4 kommentarer:

  1. Nice friendly article. I am guilty of a lot of these things you listed but my metabolism is through the roof! So I guess I am the skinny gamer. However, I definitely don't have problems!

  2. Do you sleep more than whats normal? that is 9 hours and more every night? Cause if you do, that could also be a sign of a sleeping disorder.
    But I'm happy you like the article :)

  3. great article. I myself too am certainly guilty of a great deal of the things listed here. Although I do find myself taking breaks every now and then, Sleeping for more than 9 hrs is a habitual thing of mine. Also the energy drinks are something a lot of gamers intake, as once did I, until I read of all the problems people have experienced and associated themselves with drinking energy drinks. But even though I have stopped drinking those acidic drinks like red bull and monster, drinking loads of caffeine such as dietetic pops and coffee certainly doesn't benefit my body...

  4. I love this article, absolutely fantastic advice, some of the best on the internet by far and away given how full of crap the internet is.
    I think every gamer on the internet should read this. I have had sleep problems but I excersise like mad 6 days a week and have a pretty good diet, when I eat out I try to go for something healthy when its available, but I think the sleep problems are due not to gaming itself but also to WHEN you play games. If you play games right before sleeping your mind is still wide awake and cannot rest. The problem with this is that you won't get as rested as you usually do, thus you sleep long hours, sometimes 10 or more. It is the lack of resting of the brain that causes all those other problems, which is why sleep is so important.
    You need to calm your brain down before sleep and doing things like videogames or watching TV does the opposite, it wakes you up. Try reading before bedtime or meditating, it will calm your mind and you'll wake up when you should.