When most people think of hardcore gamers, they rarely picture a fit,
healthy person. Gamers are commonly viewed as isolated, unhealthy and
inactive, and while we disagree with the idea that all gamers are
social misfits, the unfortunate reality is that many gamers have poor
exercise habits (or none at all) and often subsist on caffeine-laden
colas, energy drinks and pizza deliveries.
According to a joint study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention and researchers from both Emory and Andrews University,
the average American gamer (living in the Seattle area) is
old, overweight, and depressed."
The gamers in this 2006 study all had a slightly higher body mass
index than their non-gaming peers, and female gamers had particularly
high levels of depression and poor health in comparison to other women.
While this study did not specifically address the dietary habits of gamers,
it seems safe to assume that these overweight, moderately depressed gamers
were not living on a diet of lean protein and salads. Everybody knows that
screen time can be addicting, leading to the exclusion of simple tasks like
shopping for nutritious food and cooking.
Why Does Good Nutrition Matter To Gamers?
While we all learned about the basics of good nutrition in our high-school
home economics class, it can be tough for gamers to understand why they too
need to eat a healthy, balanced diet. After all, gamers aren't usually
athletes, so why should they eat like they are training for the Boston
Marathon? Because the benefits of good nutrition go beyond achieving a ripped
physique and a six-pack stomach; eating well helps to fuel your brain and
Great gamers depend on their brains 24/7, and to have a healthy brain, you
need to eat a healthy diet. The type of food we eat, when we eat and how
much we eat all have a huge impact on how well you can flex your cranial
Dietary Fat Can Make You Dumb
That's right folks, all that greasy pizza doesn't just make your game
controller slippery, it can actually suppress your brain function. A
powerful brain depends on strong blood flow throughout the body, and
eating fat-filled processed foods can clog your arteries and blood vessels,
restricting both oxygen and blood flow to the brain. Your brain uses blood
and oxygen as food, so just like when you get famished, your brain starts to
slow down - in essence, your brain power is retarded by your diet.
Sugar Weighs You Down
Just like excessive dietary fat can clog your arteries and restrict blood
flow to your brain, too much sugar can have a similar effect. Eating large
amounts of sugary foods like candy and sodas causes your body to act like
a roller coaster - when you eat, your blood sugar spikes, giving you instant
energy (and sometimes even a feeling of jitteriness or unease). That sugar
high won't last though, and when you crash from it, you fall hard, feeling
lethargic and unfocused. Keep up this dangerous cycle and you'll wind up
overweight with type 2 diabetes, a lifelong condition that can lead to
nerve damage, amputations and blindness.
Why Gamers Need A Healthy Diet
As we've already mentioned, eating a healthy balanced diet helps to control
your weight, improve your reflexes and brain function, giving you the energy
you need for your next marathon gaming session. As a bonus, a healthy diet
can help you live a longer, healthier life.
Simple Vitality Habits for Gamers
So, we know that as a gamer, you like to be challenged, right? We've developed
the Vitality Challenge specifically for gamers like you - gamers who want to
play hard while busting the stereotype of gamers as fat, lazy and depressed.
Ready to tackle the challenge? Here's the basics:
- Eat A Healthy Breakfast
Just like mom always said, you need to start out your day with a healthy, balanced
breakfast (no matter what time you roll out of bed). Breakfast is the best way to
wake up your metabolism, giving your body the kickstart it needs to wake up and get moving!
- Snack Smart
Limit the frequency and quantity of the snacks you eat - remember, snacks
aren't meal replacements! Nosh on simple snacks like low-fat cheese sticks
and unsalted nuts, apples and veggie sticks.
- Cut Out Caffeine
Just like sugar, caffeine gives you an artificial high followed by a painful
crash. It dehydrates you and can leave you with a splitting headache. By
eliminating caffeine from your diet you will feel better and dodge the
uncomfortable side effects that caffeine can have, such as excessive
urination, dehydration and even diarrhea!
- Ditch The Sodas
Water should be your go-to beverage, since energy drinks, sodas and fruit
juices are usually filled with empty calories that slow you down while
expanding your waistline.
- Eat Balanced Regular Meals
Mealtimes are a great excuse to take a break from the screen and spend some
quality facetime with your family, friends and roomies. Aim to eat balanced
meals that include lean protein, whole-grain carbs and vegetables at every
meal. Resist the urge to skip meals, as this leads to wild fluctuations in
your blood sugar levels and puts your metabolism on pause.
By following these simple tips, you'll be well on the way to becoming a leaner,
meaner and smarter gamer! Have fun, and most of all, remember to eat!
Back To Top
Games For Change: http://www.gamesforchange.org
Games For Health: http://www.gamesforhealth.org
USA Today: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gamehunters
American Journal of Preventative Medicine: http://www.ajpm-online.net
Body and Soul: http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au
Sugar Addiction: http://sugaraddiction.com