eSports is Physical!
e-Sports or competitive gaming is probably the highest growing sporting phenomenon with millions of fans and billions of dollars up for grabs… yes, Billions!
Streaming services and live events have turned casual gamers into serious stars who can sometimes rake in seven-figure earnings and massive brand endorsements.
Firs of all…. ESPORT “ATHLETES”?
Although many wouldn’t think it, eSport players experience the same physical and mental demands as any athlete.
There are some serious physical and mental demands from eSports athletes, just like any other athlete of any other sport. The phenomena work like this - the top players form teams, compete in leagues, hire full-time coaches, and adopt strict training regimens like training roughly for 50 hours per week. Plus, individuals within those team’s train on the side as well.
They do this while following a customised diet, as nutrition is key to performance and reaction times.
The training itself uses state of the art technology that focuses on key functions like attention, memory, and reaction time. Training exercises will even mimic real-life situations with crowd noises and changing lights used to get players familiar with the possible distractions they may face in a live competition setting. In addition to training being closely related to the game itself, eSports teams now hire fitness coaches as standard.
The margins between winning and losing are so small that being in physically better shape can end up making all the difference, and certainly has a direct impact on reaction times, endurance and the ability to maintain concentration for extended periods.
THE PHYSICAL DEMANDS
A study conducted and exposed that eSport athletes are exposed to the same physical strains as “normal athletes”.
The study showed the amount of stress hormone – cortisol, going through the players during a competition, matched those of race car drivers.
In addition, eSports players also had heart rates around 160-180 beats per minute (which is equivalent to running at a high cadence).
According to a study carried out by Queensland University of Technology in 2020, the impact of this is that eSports players are between 9% and 21% more likely to be at a healthy weight compared to the general population.
They also smoke and drink much less too, which firmly challenges the stereotype that people who play video games competitively are sedentary and obese.
The study added that “As part of their training regime, elite eSports athletes spend more than an hour per day engaging in physical exercise as a strategy to enhance gameplay and manage stress”.
Unfortunately, many eSports players still don’t realise the massive bodily demands being placed on them and therefore don’t train for competition in a professional manner.
This can lead to many problems that could be easily prevented with adequate exercise, targeted for eSports players.
I guess the questions remains…
Will we see a gamer make it on the front of a Weet-Bix box one day?
ESPORTS & EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY
Exercise and physical activity play a key role for success in eSports and should be a focus for players and organisations training eSports players. This will mean that in the future, young gamers will have more reason and motivation to be physically active.
Esports, even though demanding, is sedentary and poses a large cognitive load on athletes.
A balanced lifestyle can improve overall health for eSports athletes, as well as enhance gaming performance. Exercise produces countless benefits that can help players reach a higher level of gaming — both physical and mental.
WHAT ARE the GENERAL TOP 3 HEALTH TIPS FOR GAMERS?
“Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Samuel Warrener”
1. Go AFK to be AOK
Breaking up your gaming sessions is a big key to improving your health and your in-game performance. Getting up and going for a walk allows your eyes to readjust, your hormone levels to rebalance, increase cardiovascular health and improve your mental health.
2. Mods for Posture to Nerf Musculoskeletal Issues
If you’re sitting for long periods or laying down for an extended time, your body gets used to this position and certain muscles will weaken and/or tighten. See the point above for preventative measures, but often we are dealing with years of a habit of poor posture prior to seeking help. To help in these situations, stretches are often needed to improve hip flexor, hamstring and anterior shoulder tightness, as well as strengthening exercises for the glutes, quadriceps and upper back musculature.
3. Set Up Your Gaming Station to Maximize your HP
Whether you’re a pro with more RGB than RAM or a n00b on a potato, your gaming station set up will be something that is unique to you. While setting it up in your style, it might be worth following these few ideas to make sure your war room doesn’t become a sore room:
Keep the top of your monitor at eye height.
Set up your chair with your feet on the ground and joints (elbow, knees and hips) at 90 degrees.
Have all your peripheries (mouse, keyboard, controller) within easy reach.