When you think of playing video games, you may not think that it can lead to health issues. However, eSports are a sedentary pastime as players spend a long portion of their day sitting down.
This means that some people who game regularly experience health-related issues such as obesity and anxiety, but there are things players can do to lessen the effects of these health issues.
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Intro to eSports and Background
You may believe that competitive computer games are a modern invention, but that’s not true. In fact, their history goes all the way back to 1952 when a computer scientist working on his doctoral thesis at Cambridge implemented “XOX” as a computer game.
Progress in the world of eSports would be slow until the 1990s when it became clear that the future of eSports would be found on PCs and on the internet.
This coincided with hardware becoming cheaper, more powerful, and easier to access for the average private household.
This led to an ever-evolving fascination with gaming in general but specifically with gaming in the internet, and from these early meetings came the clans that would drive professional gameplay into the future.
Since then eSports have established themselves all over the world, and eSports events continue to multiply and grow each year.
Information about the sedentary nature of some esports and how it can cause health issues
As mentioned above, eSports are considered sedentary sports because gaming requires sitting still for multiple hours at a time. eSports players typically spend around 3.5 hours gaming per day, and professional eSports players spend around 5 hours gaming per day.
Additionally, leading up to competitions, it has been reported that collegiate eSports athletes practice between 5.5 and 10 hours daily.
Not moving your body for long periods of time can lead to many different health issues. While current data on the physical activity of eSports players is incomplete, eSports gaming is typically associated with a higher body mass index (BMI) and a higher total body fat percentage.
These factors can influence the type and severity of health issues that arise in an eSports player.
Foreseeable health issues related to gaming and eSports
eSports players have different health-related concerns than athletes who play conventional sports. While a lot of sports require that players move their bodies in a variety of ways, eSports involve being sedentary for long periods of time.
Being seated for several hours each day is not good for our health, but there are currently no guidelines supporting best practices for eSports.
It has long been understood that obesity is directly linked to sedentary media consumption, such as playing video games. If a player is competing in eSports, they are likely to be even more sedentary since practice is required before competitive play.
eSports players need to be proactive about their health and schedule in regular exercise between gaming systems to avoid obesity and its related health problems.
Lack of exercise caused by gaming on a consistent schedule can lead to poor overall circulation in the body.
An easy fix for cold hands or numbness and tingling that affects daily activities is more exercise. This will help the player’s body to regulate the circulatory system the way it is supposed to, and the symptoms should subside.
What time of day someone plays video games can be just as important as how often they play them. Playing video games excessively or playing right before going to bed can lead to the development of sleep disorders.
Gaming can increase the time it takes you to fall asleep and also decrease the amount of time that your body stays asleep. To avoid sleep problems, set the gaming controller aside at least an hour before bedtime.
The area of the brain that controls sleep is not the only one that can be affected by gaming. eSports and gaming can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety.
This comes from the pressure that players experience while livestreaming or competing in tournaments. A lot of money can be on the line when it comes to eSports tournaments, and large audiences consistently watch livestreams and comment on them.
Negative comments on a livestream can also be detrimental to a player’s mental health.
Dental issues related to sugary snacks and drinks
A lot of players tend to snack while gaming, and while this can be okay in small amounts, too much sugar or acid can cause damage to your teeth. Mindless snacking can lead to cavities, and so can dry mouth, which arises from talking too much to other players.
Teeth grinding is also a problem gamers face because the stress of certain levels or livestreaming can cause them to grind their teeth. Finally, a lack of sleep from gaming too much can cause a spike in inflammatory hormones, which can impact the player’s gums.
Choosing healthy snacks and regular visits to the dentist can help gamers avoid gum, tooth and mouth issues.
Vision issues related to eye strain
Video games require constant focus of the eyes, which can lead to many different types of vision issues. Americans spend a lot of hours per day looking at screens, and gamers spend an even longer amount of time doing so.
Spending more than 3 hours per day gaming is considered excessive and can negatively affect a player’s eyesight for the long term.
Make sure you break your gaming up into smaller chunks when possible to ease the strain on your eyes.
I hope you benefited from this information about the biggest health concerns related to gaming. Please share any tips you have for staying healthy while gaming in the comments!