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View Full Version : The Weekly Marmot - The Physical Side of Gaming



Lore
04-12-2011, 11:52 AM
YUenHGB5CSo

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bassdoc
04-12-2011, 12:05 PM
brakes, r great: we use 5 min breaks. weather it's a game or some kind of job everyone needs one.

Corpendal
04-12-2011, 12:12 PM
Hmm I find this topic to be most intriguing. Nice analysis.

Aceso Jenkins
04-12-2011, 12:30 PM
No breaks for me!

[eric cartman]Mom! Bathroom![/eric cartman]

On a more serious note, I do like to work out (cardio, lifting) before I play my games. If I tell myself that I will work out after a while of gaming, it just will never happen because midnight rolls around and then I'm way too tired for that! Plus, the body's natural release of endorphins gives me a jolt of energy to get me through a raid night.

Razzos
04-12-2011, 01:18 PM
Runing in park works for me, and 10 mins breaks too :))

Goins2754
04-12-2011, 03:18 PM
Was there a memo passed to the major vloggers from Blizzard? Three of my favorite vloggers have done specials on "physical fitness" in the past couple of weeks. It's probably just coincidence, but three in two weeks makes me wonder.

trepcsuit
04-12-2011, 11:49 PM
Ive been playing these types of games for a very long time, probably longer than some of you have been alive so let me add this very VERY helpful piece. Carpel tunnel syndrome or tendinitis. These are very common injuries that you sustain from doing the same repetitious movements and in most cases they can be fixed. If you do not heed the warning that your body is telling you, these cases can be permanent and forget ever typing at a keyboard for more than 30 minutes at a time before the back of your hands are in pain, your palms are tingling and your forearms are on fire. If those things are what you experience now, you need to take at least a 2 week break before you even sit down at a keyboard again. I have friends that have permanent injuries and cannot play these games anymore, not even a console controller so, take these things serious!

One way to combat this is to switch up the repetitive movements you normally do. So if your like me, your 1-4 keys get used a lot. You will need to change your 4 key to your 1 key and vice versa and maybe your 2 to your 3 key. That will change how often you hit some keys giving your a needed break your body must have. Also, invest in a mulitple button mouse. Get at least a 5+ button mouse so you can use your other hand to do common gaming tasks. You should also try switching up hardware. I have a regular keyboard and a Logitech Wave keyboard. They have a very different feel and work tremendously well when i need to work different muscles in my hands and forearms. Make sure you do other activities with your hands as well if you have a sedentary lifestyle like doing push-ups, gripping a stress ball, and massaging and flexing your fingers and limbs.

This no doubt will be one of the best habits to get into as a serious gamer if you plan on playing games for decades to come. Of course, getting up and moving helps too. Good blog!

Ectarax
04-13-2011, 04:47 AM
Ok this is long and I apologise for that, but it's there for those interested, the rest can merrily tl;dr.

1) I strongly second what Trepcsuit says above. Your "body parts of performance" in WoW gaming are your hands, wrists and forearms. Stress balls, powerballs/gyroscopes, eagle claws/other grip strengthening tools from martial arts are all very useful. CTS is a nightmare, do something with your hands and arms to vary their routine movements.....why do I feel this part of the comment is going to be misconstrued? ;-)

2) Back stretches are absolutely vital to do regularly. Simple stretches like torso twists and stretching your clenched hands behind your back can make a massive difference. Google is your friend here, find some stretches! Improving your posture whilst sitting and a few quick stretches will help stave off dreaded back pain in later life and will help you game more comfortably. Fewer back niggles = less distractions.

3) Stimulants (energy drinks and the like) are very short term solutions and, as Lore said, stop working as effectively. Caffeine is a good example here. After ~2 to 3 weeks of regular caffeine use your body becomes tolerant to it. You eventually feel drowsy in the mornings (if, for example, you are using caffeine to wake up, but the principle applies to alertness during gaming) not because you are tired but because you lack caffeine. Caffeine holidays are a very effective way, a long with irregular, sparing use, to maintain the efficacy of drugs like caffeine. And it *is* a drug, the most commonly used psychoactive one in the world as it goes. Oh and the slight boost it gives your metabolic rate is negligible unless you are combining its use with serious exercise and a restricted diet. Don't believe the hype.

Also, energy drinks tend to contain a lot of sugar, as gaming is by and large a sedentary activity, this means you have a lot of sugar in your body which will be converted to glycogen and stored. Simply put, if/when that store is full (and it likely already is for 99% of people) any excess calories coming in, particularly from fat, will be stored in your arse! Fat itself is a metabolically active tissue, it causes changes in hormone levels which can dull your performance and it is one hell of a nasty thing to get rid of (at ~3500 kcal per pound of human body fat, that is a week of moderate gym sessions and healthy eating per pound). Sugar/simple carbohydrates are the enemy here, the body can process them easily and so processes them first, deliberately storing the more complex carbs/fat for later. Not only that, but even if you are eating healthy protein, the sedentary nature of gaming means you are likely to be either partly burning lean tissue/not using your available muscle mass, which means it's even harder work to shed those excess wobbly bits if and when you wish to do so. Of course you may not want to shift them, and that is entirely up to you.

Lastly, sometimes caffeine does little more than make you jittery, especially if you use it to excess (and thus need an increased dose to see any effect at all). That jitteriness is detrimental to performance. Far from allowing you to focus it makes the brain less capable of doing so. Dose, habitual use, personal variations etc all play a part here, so it is by no means a linear relationship, just something to bear in mind. The same applies to sugar rushes. Short term caffiene/sugar/theobromine (for you chocolate fans) highs are followed by inevitable crashes. In the case of these substances very quickly so, certainly within the time frame of a raid night.

Take home message: as a rule of thumb use these gaming drinks and other high sugar content, caffeinated products sparingly. While there's nothing inherently bad about them, and they're useful short term, regular, excess use has a long term price that is difficult to see. Like many things in life. It's also likely that a large portion of any performance enhancement you get is psychological if you use these things regularly. That's no bad thing, but you can get the same psychological edge for less physiological (and financial) cost. Oh and Aliena's fit gamer series, especially the bit on nutrition, is really good. Alertness and performance can be boosted by what you eat over the day, not just what you snarf down during a raid to give you a caffeine high.

4) Get away from the screen in the break. If you can, look out of a window, focus your eyes on something that isn't immediately in front of you. Also close your eyes for a few seconds and then open them and refocus on things at varying distances. You'd be amazed how much this can perk you up.

5) If available and pleasant, a bit of face to face human interaction helps. A quick step away from the PC and a brief word with the girlfriend/boyfriend/whatever shifts the brain's gears a touch, instant alertness boost. If humans are unavailable, make a fuss of your dog or cat. If you game in your mum's basement which has no windows, light, people, or medium sized metazoans and is basically a collection of soiled underwear and pizza boxes, think about investing in a fish tank, or a snake. Just something, anything that isn't an electronic object. Think I'm over egging it a bit? There's a welter of very good psychological evidence that interaction with other organisms boosts mood and hence mental performance. Hit the web and do some homework, the intellectual effort helps too!

6) Last, for I have gone on too long already, I'm going to slightly, very very slightly, disagree with Lore and say that more frequent breaks than ten minutes every two hours are needed. Again, work on revision performance for exams and such like shows that optimum mental performance is obtained if one works for about 45 mins of every hour. Obviously that's a little too lax for raiding, so an adequate compromise of about one 5 minute break every hour with a 10 minute break at the halfway mark (if going 4 hours or more) is a good rule of thumb. Obviously what works for people will vary.

All of the above is derived from statistical data (well apart from the caffeine and calories stuff, that's biochemistry 101). So remember that there will be perfectly natural variations. Try to find a point on each of the various spectra of physical activity, calories consumed, nutrition, human interaction etc that works for you and see if you can improve it by varying one metric slightly. What works for you may not work for someone else, but from the statistical data of large numbers of people we can derive general rules that are likely to be of benefit. Rather than react against general rules like these as if they are somehow commandments (they're not, no matter how many phony health gurus deliver them that way) and thus to be rebelled against, look at them as a series of lessons on how to play a musical instrument. Learn the basics then develop your own style. They aren't intended to be preachy or prescriptive, merely informative for those people that want them.

Happy gaming!

Berith
04-13-2011, 08:33 AM
About the Rockstar,

The active ingredients is caffeine instead of paying all that money on pre-prepared caffeine/energy drink how about you be an adult and have a coffee? It's much less expensive and you have to get up and prepare it during your 15 minute break. Two birds with 1 stone and it's much less expensive.

Hnetto
04-13-2011, 09:01 AM
Besides what Ectarax said i would add another piece of advice. Keep the light on in the place you are playing. If you play in a dark place you are sending mixed information to your brain. While the room is dark it tells your body that it's time to sleep and start making you more relaxed, however since the computer screen is usually very bright that makes your brain consider that you need to be active. This coupled with the late hours that most of us play can give you some trouble sleeping thus reducing your overall performace. If possible try and keep the room where you play with normal lighting.

Another important aspect of preventing CTS is keeping a decent posture while playing. Pay attention to your body, not always the most confortable position to sit is the best one, especially if you are used to stay in the wrong position. Try to keep your back straight as much as you can and your arms hands and elbows at the same level. This alone is a huge help to prevent CTS. Every 50 minutes or so try to stop and strech your hands, arms, neck and back.

And most important of all. If you ever feel pain or disconfort while performing any kind of activity stop and see a doctor. Most of the problems associated with CTS can be easly fixed if treated early.

BTW, if you need something to keep you active now and again don't really on energy drinks. Try something natural like guaranį powder. It's still caffeine and have all the problems associated with it but it does not contain sugar and have a very low cal count.

Krays
04-14-2011, 10:06 AM
I would have taken this video to heart , except i just started a new job two weeks ago after years of unemployment. Its the kind of job that makes weightlifting in the gym look like a walk in the park... Im literally stacking heavy azz boxes on top of each other non stop for 8 hours. My muscles are screaming right now, and my feet are killing me from the lack of sitting all day.

I reckon thats enough exercise to allow me to play some games :D seriously this generation is getting alot weaker (apart from athletes ofc), as i saw some old dudes at that warehouse doing the same job as me at 100 miles an hour without getting tired(they go fast not cause they sadists, but because we get a very large bonus , the faster we stack), where as all the young er guys had tears in their eyes and were looking for the exit...wish i had finished college now... I would kill you and your grandma for a sitting down job right now!

Scarla
04-14-2011, 02:24 PM
Cold water is actually much better for staying awake and alert than caffeinated drinks in the long run. I love my caffeine, but when I'm raiding I drink nothing but water. I usually go through 1-2 bottles for a 3 hour raid. What happens when I drink a soda is that I sit there sipping at my drink for 3 hours (which is terrible for your teeth, by the way - you're constantly reapplying that sugar and acid to your teeth when you do that), and then I want a snack as well, so I also wind up sitting there snacking all night. My worst eating habits tend to come out when I'm gaming, so I've started just sitting down at the computer with a bottle of water, and it's worked out pretty well for me. I really recommend it to anyone who's trying to practice "healthier gaming habits."

Mhoram
04-14-2011, 06:45 PM
Ive been playing these types of games for a very long time, probably longer than some of you have been alive so let me add this very VERY helpful piece. Carpel tunnel syndrome or tendinitis. These are very common injuries that you sustain from doing the same repetitious movements and in most cases they can be fixed. If you do not heed the warning that your body is telling you, these cases can be permanent and forget ever typing at a keyboard for more than 30 minutes at a time before the back of your hands are in pain, your palms are tingling and your forearms are on fire. If those things are what you experience now, you need to take at least a 2 week break before you even sit down at a keyboard again. I have friends that have permanent injuries and cannot play these games anymore, not even a console controller so, take these things serious!

One way to combat this is to switch up the repetitive movements you normally do. So if your like me, your 1-4 keys get used a lot. You will need to change your 4 key to your 1 key and vice versa and maybe your 2 to your 3 key. That will change how often you hit some keys giving your a needed break your body must have. Also, invest in a mulitple button mouse. Get at least a 5+ button mouse so you can use your other hand to do common gaming tasks. You should also try switching up hardware. I have a regular keyboard and a Logitech Wave keyboard. They have a very different feel and work tremendously well when i need to work different muscles in my hands and forearms. Make sure you do other activities with your hands as well if you have a sedentary lifestyle like doing push-ups, gripping a stress ball, and massaging and flexing your fingers and limbs.

This no doubt will be one of the best habits to get into as a serious gamer if you plan on playing games for decades to come. Of course, getting up and moving helps too. Good blog!

Thank you. When I brought this up a while back, everyone crapped all over me. Nice to see somebody else gets it.