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Gamer Health and Wellbeing

Gamer Risks

Computer and video gaming has become a favourite pastime for both children and adults over the past few decades. Many people find gaming to be extremely relaxing, as it provides a diversion from their usual daily stressors when they are immersed in game play. Much like watching television, playing computer games is a sedentary activity that can lead to numerous health problems if not done in moderation. Studies have shown that electronic gaming can contribute to the risk of childhood obesity and a higher incidence of injuries to the hand. Muscle and joint issues are also not uncommon, and can lead to chronic neck and back pain, as well as headaches.

Muscle and Joint Issues

Recent surveys have revealed that gamers spend an average of eight hours per week gaming via their PC or console system, which doesn't include time spent playing offline on handheld devices. This much consecutive time spent engaging in repetitive hand movement can result in catastrophic damage to the musculoskeletal system, especially over time.

Overuse of the hand and/or thumb is a common cause of gaming related discomfort or injury. The repeated and prolonged pressing of the buttons required for many popular video games can lead to injury in the tendon that allows the thumb to extend. Over time, this unrelenting stress on the joints can lead to a predisposition for osteoarthritis. It can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful and often debilitating disorder that can be brought on by overuse of your mouse or gripping your game controller too tightly for too long.

Obesity

Obesity is one of the most common and vexing health problems prevalent in the world today. Many serious health issues people face, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiac disease, have obesity as the root cause. There is a proven link between children that watch an excessive amount of television and obesity, and one can reasonably assume that such findings will also pertain to children who engage in many hours of video game play. This issue is especially problematic as sedentary children tend to become sedentary adults, and this is an unhealthy habit that can be very difficult to break. Read about "Weight Loss" techniques.

Eye Strain

When a gamer becomes engrossed by what they are doing on the screen, they tend to blink less and stare with laser-like focus, leading to eye strain and fatigue. According to The Minnesota Optometric Association (MOA), video game enthusiasts often suffer from a condition they refer to as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). The constant eye movement and refocusing involved in game play can result in dry eyes, headaches, pain in the eyes or the surrounding muscle tissue, sensitivity to light and difficulty focusing. Read about "Vision-Boosting Workouts and Breaks".

Gamers Wrist (RSI and Carpal Tunnel)

Carpal tunnel or repetitive strain injury (rsi) are very common for those who enjoy spending a lot of their leisure time playing games. These can be serious conditions with very real consequences. Being able to use computers is a vital part of many office jobs, and those who don't make any effort to learn how to improve the mobility of their hands with stretching exercises can quickly find their mobility is seriously hindered by one of these conditions. Read about "Gamers Wrist and Wrist Exercises".

Photosensitive Epileptic Seizures

There is no evidence that playing video games can cause epilepsy, but it has been shown that gameplay can trigger seizures in those already predisposed to do so. The jury is still out on how often this occurs, and to what extent gameplay is involved in a seizure that occurs during game activity. It is suspected that stress and fatigue can contribute to seizures during game play in children who are already diagnosed as epileptic.

For people that are photosensitive, it is believed that video games can actually be the primary cause of a seizure. Although rare, for some people the flashing lights and flickering movements of most video games can trigger seizure-like patterns in the brain or even a full-on seizure. In many cases, photosensitive gamers can avoid this problem with the help of medication and/or blue polarized eyewear.

So, all this being said, what can we do to protect ourselves from the negative and unhealthy effects that regular game play can induce? A good place to start is the Vitality Challenge from Vitality For Gamers.


The Vitality Challenge from Vitality for Gamers

Vitality for Gamers is committed to improving the overall health and well-being of video game enthusiasts (Gamers), while simultaneously challenging the popular stereotype that all gamers are inactive, unhealthy coach potatoes.

The Vitality Challenge is a comprehensive, easy to follow program set up over three tiers: Casual, Active, and Hardcore. This system vastly improves one's chances of success by allowing individuals to tailor the plan according to their present fitness level. It goes without saying, of course, that it is always advisable to consult your healthcare provider before beginning any new diet or fitness regimen.

Fitness

Aerobic exercise such as jogging is a key component for weight loss and building endurance. To receive the optimal health benefits, it is important to increase your normal heart rate for at least thirty minutes per workout. Check out the parameters in the Casual, Active, and Hardcore categories of the "Fat Burning Job" to establish what rate is best for you to strive for. Jogging or brisk walking requires little in the way of equipment, all you really need is a heart rate monitor and a good pair of running shoes.

Posture (Core Strength)

Regular gaming can be rough on your posture, which in turn can cause pain and discomfort. The Vitality Challenge acknowledges that a great way to combat this is with the practice of Yoga and Pilates which not only strengthens your core, but also is beneficial for relaxation and stress relief.

Eyesight

We've established that prolonged game play can cause eye strain and fatigue. A few preventative measures that can be taken to diminish these issues include ensuring the contrast and brightness of your gaming screen is set properly and avoiding glare. It's also advisable to take frequent breaks to change your visual focal point, as these steps can go a long way in preventing eye strain problems in the first place. There are also Eye Exercises you can do to which will help most people keep their eyes efficient.

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References:
Games For Change: http://www.gamesforchange.org
Games For Health: http://www.gamesforhealth.org
Gameful: http://www.gameful.org
Newsarama: http://www.newsarama.com/games
Medical News Today: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com
Epilepsy: http://www.epilepsy.com
LiveStrong: http://www.livestrong.com
Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk

Vitality Challenge

Challenge yourself to a better Gaming Life!

Healthy Gamer News

Vitality Habits

BreakFast: Fruit Only

BreakFast

Fruit Only (Breakfast till Midday)

Healthy Gamer Snacks: Fruit and Nuts

Gamer Snacks

Fruit, Nuts and other healthy options

Lunch/Dinner: Salad or Vegetables

Lunch/Dinner

Vegetables and Salad to make up 75% of your meal.

Fitness

Fitness

Fat Burning Jog, be active.

Drink Water

Drink Healthy

Water and Fresh Juice

Gamer Posture

Posture

Good Gaming Posture.
Yoga, Pilates or a Core Strengthening exercise.

Oxygen

Oxygen

Conscious breathing technique assists with your bodies health.

Eye Sight

Eye Sight

Take care of your Eye Sight.

Healthy Hearing

Hearing

Take care of your Hearing.

Mindset

Brain

The brain is the control centre of your whole body, "Healthy Mind, Healthy Body".

Vitality Challenge

Disclaimer
The information and advice presented on the vitalityforgamers.com website are meant as a guide to assist the user in adopting healthier habits for a Healthier Gaming Lifestyle or other health achievements. Please, apply these well-known principles in a safe manner. The reader bears all responsibility for using or applying any techniques or ideas outlined in the vitalityforgamers.com website. Consult with your physician before starting any health or exercise programs.