Healthy Gaming Tips

Advice like "don't snack and game" and "take breaks". Not everything I talk about may be for you, but you should read it anyway just in case.

We all love video games, but we need to admit that some of us love them a little too much and it can get pretty unhealthy. Really it would be more of a detrimental obsession type of devotion rather than love of the game in some cases, but still it’s not exactly exercise. Unless of course you get one of those exercise themed games, but let’s say you don’t want to turn gaming into a workout. It’s still going to be unhealthy… unless you think for a minute.

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I’m nowhere near being on expert on any of this, but this is good advice.

Game Time Isn’t Snack Time

This probably only applies to a few people, seeing as no one wants to get yogurt in their keyboard or stain their controller with a melody of different flavors, but keep from snacking during your game play. The thing is… your brain doesn’t pay much attention to your stomach when you’re doing something fun. Your brain realizes you’re hungry, but isn’t really paying attention to how much you’ve eaten or if you’re even full yet.

I don’t like to snack while I play because I make a mess when I do, but if you can do it without ruining everything you love then go ahead. You just have to portion it out before you’re hungry. It’s kind of like buying groceries hungry, you are going to take more than what you really want. This way when you do want a snack, when you eat all of whatever it is you’re snacking on, it’s not as bad as accidentally eating the entire bag/box/package. Of course what you’re snacking on makes a difference too, so if you’re trying to be healthier swap the chips for low salt pretzels or popcorn.

Multiple Platforms Help… kinda

I play on Xbox 360, PC, Wii, and DS Lite. Not only does this give me a wide range of games but it helps me avoiding those repetitive movement syndromes like carpal tunnel or “Wii elbow”. Just think about it for a minute, you play on a computer differently than with a controller. Changing the motions your making with your fingers and wrists helps keep you from wearing out your tendons and joints.

I don’t like to play the same game for more than an hour and 30 minutes, or else my wrist starts to get a little stiff and sore. So I take a break and if I still want to play, I just play on a different platform.

Take a Break and Move

Eck… this is bringing back memories of childhood scoldings…

Anyway, it’s probably the most obvious bit of advice in this article but seriously just stopping for at least 45 minutes and doing something physical for about every 1 hour 30 minutes of game time helps out a lot. You don’t have to lift weights or go running. Just a little walk, maybe some yoga, anything that requires you to move your entire body is good enough.

I like to walk around the house during my breaks. It gives me a chance to have a snack, which eventually leads me to cleaning something up (sometimes I didn’t make the mess!) or talking to random family members who normally wouldn’t get a chance to talk to me unless we’re playing co-op.

Moderation, moderation, moderation

But on a more serious note, everything just comes done to moderation. Too much of a good thing is bad, that’s why they call it too much. Games are awesome, and I wouldn’t want to imagine the kind of person I would be without them (boring would be one trait I suppose).

Figure out what ‘too much’ means to you, I can’t really tell you that because we’re two different people. That whole “don’t snack and play” thing might not be as healthy for you as it is for me. Either way, I hope that you at least got some ideas from reading this and that help you make healthier.

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Metal Badger
I was born, stuff happened, then I got a bachelors and am writing for GameSkinny at the moment. All I really have time to play right now are flash games and League of Legends. Basically if it's a game odds are I'm going to like it, and if not I'll play for a while. Any game can be good or bad, it just depends on how you view the story, even if it isn't written. Sorry if you were expecting personal info, I don't really like giving that many details online unless I know you...