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Esports, Gaming and Physical Activity

“I wanted to show the people that gaming is more than playing video games. They are normal people who have a family, who go to a gym and play football, tennis and so on. It was important for me to change people’s perception of professional gamers.” – pashaBiceps (Virtus.Pro)

You might be wondering what physical activity and going outside for daily runs have to do with esports and gaming. Based on my experience, everything! Personally, when working with teams and gamers, my philosophy is to consider every aspect of their life (both off and on the stage) and implement a holistic plan that will ultimately improve person as a whole. Next to a mental training plan, I also include a plan for physical activity, based on individual needs and desires. This physical activity can be anything, from morning stretching routine to going to a gym 3 days a week. 

Now if you are thinking, I still don’t understand why physical activity is important for gamers, stick with me for a little while longer. If not, good for you.

Let us look at some facts, esports competitions take place in a virtual world and physical abilities are not directly important to win a game. Besides the coordination of eye, head, and hand movements, gamers mostly rely on mental performance, which broadly speaking represents the ability to use acquired strategic knowledge and mental skills to win. However, just because physical training is not considered important to win in esports, it doesn’t mean that it should be ruled out. Having regular physical activity has multiple benefits on gamer’s ability to perform and lead a healthy life.

On average, gamers spend between 5-8 hours sitting and practicing. This number is within the norm –  like having an 8-hour working job, but human bodies are “made” to be moved. There are chemical processes that are important for our body and mind happening only during physical activity. And they can greatly improve the way we function and perform in life.

In esports, we already have people as I like to call them „advocates of a healthy lifestyle“ that are changing the mindset of the gaming community. Just to name one, CS:GO player, “pashaBiceps”, uses his results and social status to pose as a role model. Fortunately, we live in trendy times where social influencing is one of the best ways to raise awareness about the importance of physical activity. 

Physical inactivity can lead to many health and performance issues. These can include obesity problems, injuries, low energy levels, mood swings, or body posture problems. Below I’ve outlined reasons why physical activity is important and the positive effects that it can have on you:

  1.   Health improvement: By exercising regularly you are improving your health status, body image and posture, and also boost your confidence, quality of sleep, self-esteem and mood. This is especially important for teenagers.
  2.   Boosts brainpower: Physical activity has positive implications on the cognitive functioning of the brain such as learning new skills, attention, and willpower. As a result, this boosts learning capabilities. Aerobic types of training can improve focus and concentration. Enduring hard workout regimes can improve a person’s willpower and facilitate the development of resilience.
  3.   Mental well-being: Regular physical activity can improve mood and help reduce anxiety and stress. It can help reduce cortisol levels, which is directly connected to the stress response. That is why gamers use “gym time” to relax and cool off after long training session.
  4.   Increases energy levels: When exercising, the body releases chemicals called endorphins. These hormones trigger a positive feeling in the body. For instance, after a workout or a run, you will experience a feeling known as a “runner’s high”. This will leave you feeling energized and optimistic.
  5.   Improves self-esteem: Regular physical activity can improve self-esteem by giving you a more positive view about yourself. This leads to increased self-confidence and better decision making.
  6.   Improves social interaction: Daily physical activity might lead to more positive social interactions. You might meet new people and develop new friendships, or you could also use this time to build stronger connections with your teammates.

Remember, any physical activity (yes, even walking!) is better than no activity at all. In case I peaked your interested, you can find more about leading a healthy lifestyle by checking out The Gamers Survival Guide to Healthy Habits articles.

Thank you for sticking with me and I hope you found this reading helpful. Be sure to reach out and contact us directly, in case you want to make a change to your lifestyle or for a casual chat about esports.

© Photos by Michal Konkol – LoL Esports Photos 2019

Milan Dumić

Currently working with Red Star Esports organization as their performance coach for LoL and FIFA teams. Next to that, 8 years of experience working with professional athletes, gamers, and organizations. As a lifelong video gamer, he enjoys to play video games and keep up with the current trends in the gaming and esports industry.

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