Ah, video games. The love of my life. I remember saving up my dollars from my first job at a grocery store just so I can purchase my first Playstation 2. Lost in the world of Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts and Spryo the Dragon… I’ve spent my fair share sitting in front of my TV or PC, wasting away in the wonderful escape it brought me.
In fact, I loved gaming so much that I went on to pursue a degree in Game Design. Drawing, coding, 3D Modeling and tinkering with game engines all secured my sedentary lifestyle through college and beyond. Sure enough, the older I got, the more weight I gained.
Now that I’ve come to terms with what my hobbies had done to me, I’m ready to take my health seriously. And if you are in the same boat, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to trade your controllers in for dumbbells. With a few simple changes, playing video games might actually contribute to our overall health.
What can members do?
First off, we need to solidify a commitment to lead more active lives. Reprogramming your lifestyle is can be easier said than done. But with simple changes in the way you play, step by step the journey will be possible. Below are a few tips on how to make your game times more active
Got Ideas? Do you have any ideas about staying fit while gaming? Join our Geek Fit Network Facebook Group to share ideas and make friends. We are a group of geeks who welcome everyone of all ages and fandoms to come together and make memories
while maintaining healthy habits.
Here’s how to do it:
This is a simple concept, but it is more challenging than you think when you are so used to sitting down. And when you aren’t used to standing for long periods of time, you will be tempted to take sitting breaks frequently while trying to get used to it.
When I first tried standing up more, I’ll have my chair right behind me. Sure enough, I take a sitting break and get so lost in the game that I completely forget about my goal. That is, until a load screen starts or when I need to take a bathroom break. The key is to keep trying. For PC gamers, this is almost impossible to do if you are WASD style without buying an expensive standing desk. The best option is to switch to a programmed hand controller to get started on standing up more.
Swap Your Chair
When I had trouble remembering to stand up, I found it easier to at least work on proper posture by swapping my game chair for an inflatable exercise ball. Not only did this help me sit up straight, but it actually made the game more fun.
Bounce around during an intense battle or whenever your character jumps on the screen! Up your game by doing crunches and squats every now and again. I like to do this during load screens.
If you can’t get an inflatable exercise ball right now, consider switching your comfy chair out for an uncomfortable one, like a stool or a hard wood chair from the dining room. This would at least motivate you to stand up more often.
Swap Your Snacks and Drinks
A gamer’s best arsenal is snacks and beverages. And a lot of them! But choices of those snacks can come with dire consequences on your health. It’s time to put down the Doritos and bring on healthier options. I’d like to prepare my snacks ahead of time before a gaming session, because if you get hungry while playing, the quick high calorie chips and cookies are always going to be the fastest option when you are eager to get back into the game.
Drinks are easy to substitute with filtered tap water. If you are too used to drinking sugary sodas and energy drinks, it’s time to cut back. Diet versions of these drinks are available, but artificial sweeteners aren’t exactly healthy either. Add freshly sliced fruit to your water (I like to use selzter water to curve my soda cravings). You can make lemonade or iced tea with healthier sugars like agave or organic honey sparingly. One of my favorite things to do is to is to freeze freshly squeezed fruit juices into ice cubes for convenience purposes.
Take Regular Breaks
Set frequent alarms to remind yourself to take breaks from your game. At first, it will be hard to walk away from the screen, but now that you are committed and we are rooting you on! Take a break every 30 minutes for a short walk around your house or even around the neighborhood for 10 minutes at a time.
Choose Games that Require More Physical Activity
Nintendo Wii Sports games are a great example. Dance Dance Revolution is one of my all time favorite fitness game. By playing more of these games, naturally you will increase your physical activity while playing.
Consider getting a Virtual Reality Kit if you don’t have one already. Have you ever playing Skyrim VR? It’s amazing!
Take on the Gamer’s Fitness Challenge
When you are ready to up your fitness game, playing video games can be an physical activity. See how long you can plank while playing, do quick exercises at load screens. If you are playing a game like Street Fighter or Tekken, doing boxing shuffles can add more flair to your gaming session.
Make up different routines based off the type of game you are playing, you might get the workout of your life! Little by little, you’ll be getting into shape in no time. You can learn how to get fit while playing video games by attending one of our Gaming Fitness Challenges we host at our Raleigh Meetup Group.
You don’t have to start sacrificing your game time for visits to the gym. By making a few changes to your habits, playing video games can make a big difference to your physical health. Sweat while slaying dragons, eat like a superhero and don’t forget to have fun while you work out.