How to Keep Fit for Online Gaming

You might be preparing for a feat of endurance, such as a marathon or iron man event. You could be an athlete looking to grab some marginal gains, whether in an individual sport such as tennis or with a team such as football. It might be you just want a healthier lifestyle and choose to stay fit, so you live longer.

One area that you may not think fitness is all that important is online gaming. When you hear the words ‘online gaming’, the instant image conjured up is one of a participant remaining sedentary for long periods, either in a gaming chair or on the couch. To some degree, that is a fair representation of an online gamer.

These days, online gaming is everywhere. You might be competing in a competition, such as on the online game Dota 2, which brings with it a $40m prize pool. You might be taking part in live casino games, which have become more like a real casino experience than ever before. Gala Casino has live Blackjack and Roulette, which means you can experience gaming Las Vegas-style from the comfort of your own home. That will encourage gamers to remain in their house, rather than getting to an actual casino, and whilst convenient, it is also a health hazard. Both those pastimes will require you to be seated at home for long periods. Even a casual gamer simply playing a few FIFA games with friends might not move for a couple of hours, which can lead to problems.

A Statista graphic on online gaming revenue shows that in Spain alone, there has been a rise of more than 300% since 2015. Worldwide, more than 2.6bn people actively take part in online gaming of some sort, proving this to be a huge industry, but one that brings health concerns. If those 2.6bn people don’t look after themselves, they can suffer a range of problems, including sleep deprivation, circadian rhythm disorders, and maybe obesity and heart disease, too. That’s why it is essential to keep fit for online gaming, using the advice we have provided below.

Stay Active

Gaming itself is not bad for you, but remaining sitting for long hours is. Therefore, activity of any sort can help keep you fit during gaming sessions. In between stints, try to have a couple of minutes away from the controller, walking around to improve circulation. You might even want to have some dumbbells by the sofa for a minute or two lifting or throw in a few press-ups. All activity is good and making sure you do something every hour is essential. Some gamers will even play whilst on an exercise bike in their living room to stay active.

Nutrition

It is easy during a gaming session to choose snacky foods, quick to prepare, and often very bad for you. If you plan on several hours of virtual roulette or an immersive Fortnite session, try to ensure you have food and drinks that are good for you. Superfoods such as avocado and berries are just as easy to prepare and eat as a bag of crisps and will be a lot better for you. If you must have fizzy drinks, look for low-fat and diet options not loaded with sugar.

Repetitive Strain Injury

Gamers are one demographic at severe risk of RSI because much of the play is conducted via a controller or a mobile device. You likely hold your phone the same whenever you use it, and the same goes for a console controller, which means that your hands and wrists can suffer after a few hours. Consider doing special hand and wrist exercises tailored for your play. There are even devices you can get to help avoid problems with constant play, such as a grip strengthener.

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Lower Back

The Erector Spinae is not just one muscle, but a bundle of muscles and tendons. Paired, they run more or less vertically. It extends throughout the lumbar, thoracic and cervical regions, and lies in the groove to the side of the vertebral column.

Latissimus Dorsi

The latissimus dorsi is the larger, flat, dorsolateral muscle on the trunk, posterior to the arm, and partly covered by the trapezius on its median dorsal region.

Deltoids

The Deltoid muscle is the muscle forming the rounded contour of the shoulder. It is divided into three portions, anterior, lateral and posterior, with the fibers having different roles due to their orientation.

Infraspinatus

The Infraspinatus muscle is one of the four rotator cuff muscles crossing the shoulder joint and is commonly injured. It is the main external rotator of the shoulder joint.

Biceps

The Biceps brachii is  actually two separate bundles of muscles (heads). The two heads of the Biceps vary in length and as a result, are called the Short and the Long Biceps heads.

Triceps

The Triceps Brachii muscles  have three muscle heads: Lateral, Medial and Long head. Primarily responsible for the extension of the elbow joint. The lateral head is used for movements requiring occasional high-intensity force, while the medial fascicle enables more precise, low-force movements.

Forearm
(Anterior muscles)

The Pronator teres pronates the forearm, turning the hand posteriorly. If the elbow is flexed to a right angle, then pronator teres will turn the hand so that the palm faces inferiorly. It is assisted in this action by pronator quadratus.

Forearm
(Posterior muscles)

The Extensor Digitorum muscle helps in the movements of the wrists and the elbows. It extends the phalanges, then the wrist, and finally the elbow. It acts principally on the proximal phalanges. It tends to separate the fingers as it extends them.

Pecs

The pectoralis major makes up the bulk of the chest muscles in the male and lies under the breast in the female.

The pectoralis minor is a thin, triangular muscle, situated at the upper part of the chest, beneath the pectoralis major. 

Abs

The Rectus Abdominis is the most superficial of the abdominal muscles. It is this muscle which forms the six-pack shape! It is a paired muscle running vertically on each side of the anterior wall of the abdomen. There are two parallel muscles, separated by a midline band of connective tissue called the linea alba.

Obliques

The External Oblique is situated on the lateral and anterior parts of the abdomen. It is broad, thin, and irregularly quadrilateral. It is the largest and the most superficial (outermost) of the three flat muscles of the lateral anterior abdomen. 

Glutes

The gluteal muscles are a group of three muscles which make up the buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The three muscles originate from the ilium and sacrum and insert on the femur. The functions of the muscles include extension, abduction, external rotation, and internal rotation of the hip joint.

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Quadriceps

The Quadriceps Femoris is the knee extensor muscle.  As a group, the quadriceps femoris is crucial in walking, running, jumping and squatting. It´s subdivided into four separate “heads”.

Hamstrings

A hamstring is any one of the three posterior thigh muscles in between the hip and the knee (from medial to lateral: semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris). The hamstrings are quite susceptible to injury.

Lower Leg

The gastrocnemius and the soleus form what we know as calf. They are involved in activities such as walking, running, jumping… 

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Trapezius

The trapezius is a broad, flat and triangular muscle. The muscles on each side form a trapezoid shape. It is the most superficial of all the back muscles.

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