You know how important it is to look after your body and mind. This doesn’t mean that you cannot undertake other activities. Like with everything in life moderation is key to keeping a healthy balance.
One activity that you may enjoy is online gaming or perhaps a member of your family regularly spends hours online playing various games from role playing to card games.
Is it healthy to play these games?
Well, they can engage the brain, help with hand-eye coordination and improve memory in some instances but it is also not healthy to be sitting still for hours on end.
During 2020 with the Covid pandemic millions of people across the world were forced to stay indoors. This meant people lost their routines. No longer able to visit their yoga classes or gyms meant more time was taken up by online entertainment. During this period more people subscribed to streaming services like Netflix than ever before and also joined up to gamble at a live casino or bingo website. Teenagers and adults alike played Fortnite and other video games more than ever.
While entertainment itself poses no general harm what are the possible health risks of spending too much time online?
Is it healthy to spend so much time online?
Research has shown that spending too much time on the internet can lead to depression, obesity, high blood pressure and anxiety. Internet addiction can lead to social isolation and in these times we already have social distancing without spending less time interacting with other humans.
In 2017 a prominent online gamer died while trying to play online for 24 hours to raise money from charity. A number of gamers have died while playing online for too long so the importance of keeping yourself healthy cannot be overlooked. This isn’t to say that gaming is all bad. It is more about striking a balance.
How can you play online but remain healthy or perhaps even improve some areas of your lifestyle?
Getting fresh air and taking breaks
Something as simple as opening a window can help. You need ventilation and all of us need fresh air. Try to break up your gaming sessions regularly and either do something else for a while or get outside for a short walk. Moving around is essential. Sitting still for long periods can raise your risk of diabetes, heart disease and strokes. While exercise is important, moving around regularly is actually more beneficial to your overall health for these conditions.
When taking a break do some light stretches. Stretching has many benefits. By using stretches that target certain areas such as your arms, legs and back and shoulders will help the areas being ignored while you are sitting in front of your laptop or tablet.
You know how important exercise is and perhaps you have a regular exercise regime in place but there is nothing wrong with doing some light exercise to break up a gaming session. Stop playing video games for a short while, do some stretching and then do 10 minutes or so of light exercise to get the blood flowing. Perhaps you have a few things to buy at the local shop. Then take a brisk walk or cycle there and back before you continue to play online.
Yoga is another activity you can do to break up your gaming and gain great health benefits. If you already attend yoga classes then you can practice yoga at home or if not then you could try many yoga resources online for advice on how to start. There are many classes run online and on YouTube, although ideally you want to stay away from your PC while breaking from gaming!
The benefits of yoga include, improved muscle strength and tone, flexibility, improved energy, improvements to cardio health and resistance from injury. Yoga can help with mental health and reduce stress, tiredness and anxiety. This is an area which gamers can frequently find themselves suffering from while playing difficult games or spending too much time online.
Eating & snacking
While indulging in a late night session in an online casino or trying to win at Fortnite it is all too easy to snack and eat all the wrong things. The biggest problem here is sugar. Sodas, fruit juices containing added sugar, cakes, chocolate bars and candy are all easy to consume while gaming and are all laden with sugar. Make sure you eat 3 healthy meals a day or if you are grazing then choose healthy foods. Avoid buying unhealthy snacks in the first place to make your choice much easier. Buy in fruit, seeds and mixed nuts and other snacks that contain fibre and are low in fat and sugar.
Alcohol and coffee may seem like a great idea when staying awake for a long poker session but hydration is crucial. No matter what time of the day you are playing, remember to keep hydrated. Your body needs it. Your eyes need it. You lose up to 30% energy when your water levels drop by 5%r so it is in your benefit to keep hydrated for many reasons.
There are many great ways to entertain yourself online from chat rooms to movies to online casinos. Now you can play slot machines like starburst online or join in a blackjack game on your smartphone but whatever game you choose you must make sure your health does not suffer. Whether you play casino games or like to venture into World of Warcraft you must also move around, hydrate, exercise and take part in other healthy activities like yoga.
If you do choose to play online casino games then you should check your local gambling regulations before doing so as different countries and regions have their own laws regarding this area although there are many free to play games available to play just for fun. Stay safe while you play, enjoy your games and keep up a good health regime to enjoy life the best ways you can.