Prac­tice health­ier gam­ing

Porterville Recorder - - HEALTH -

Gam­ing con­tin­ues to grow in pop­u­lar­ity, and with new ways to en­gage in so­cial or in­di­vid­ual game play avail­able thanks to var­i­ous tech­no­log­i­cal de­vices, the fre­quency with which gamers en­gage in these recre­ational pur­suits only in­creases. In fact, a 2018 re­port by Lime­light Net­works found that gamers spend an av­er­age of 5.96 hours each week playing games.

Ex­ces­sive gam­ing can pose a threat to gamers’ over­all health. The fol­low­ing phys­i­cal and men­tal well­ness tips can help gamers en­sure they get to play with­out sac­ri­fic­ing their health.

• Re­mem­ber to blink.

Star­ing at screens for long pe­ri­ods of time can cause se­ri­ous eye strain. Some­times, when im­mersed in the in­ten­sity of game play, a gamer may for­get to blink his or her eyes, and this can lead to tired, dry eyes. As with other screen usage, fol­low the 20-20-20 rule. Per the Cana­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Op­tometrists, ev­ery 20 min­utes, take a 20-second break and fo­cus your eyes on some­thing at least 20 feet away.

• Take fre­quent breaks.

Gamers should get up out of their seats and take breaks at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals. This gives their eyes and ears a rest and al­lows them to stretch and re­set their pos­ture. Sit­ting for long pe­ri­ods of time can af­fect cir­cu­la­tion and have ad­verse ef­fects on the neck and spine as well.

• Get some fresh air.

In­di­vid­u­als should use break op­por­tu­ni­ties to go out­side and get some fresh air and sun­shine, if pos­si­ble. The light and the clean air can im­prove en­ergy levels and pos­si­bly help re­store fo­cus when it comes time to re­turn to the game. Spend­ing too many con­sec­u­tive hours in a dark room can im­pact the brain and may af­fect how peo­ple learn, ac­cord­ing to re­search led by Michi­gan State neu­ro­sci­en­tists. Dim lights can make it hard to re­tain mem­o­ries, while bright light boosts in­for­ma­tion re­ten­tion and mood.

Peo­ple can en­joy gam­ing in a safe and healthy way by in­cor­po­rat­ing var­i­ous well­ness strate­gies into their gam­ing rou­tines.

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