Video games are one of the most prevalent forms of entertainment, with about 64 percent of the American population playing regularly.
This rising trend comes as no surprise, as video games provide an escape from our hectic schedules and allow us to relax. They also stimulate us mentally and connect us to others online or in person.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to become addicted to video games and spend hours sitting in front of the screen. If you aren’t careful, you may even begin to neglect your physical and mental health.
This article will share five healthy gaming habits that you can develop to improve your overall well-being. If you have children, it will also help you understand how to encourage healthy gaming habits at home.
1. Set a Time Limit
Games are designed to make us want to keep playing, so it can be hard to exercise restraint. Whether you like to play RPGs, FPS, or slots lv mobile casino, setting a specific time limit and following through is vital.
Most experts recommend children play no longer than two hours per day. Yet, there is no magic number for teens or adults.
Nevertheless, studies show that playing video games for more than 50 hours a week is detrimental to your health and is a sign of addiction.
An excellent way to strike a balance is by making a weekly schedule. Doing so can help you visualize how much time you need to be spending on essential activities and the time you have leftover for gaming.
You may find it helpful to set a timer when you begin playing. Once the timer has stopped, you should quit playing or wrap up your current game.
Another terrific way to limit your game time is by only playing on certain days of the week or when your friends can join you.
No matter what technique you use to control your gaming time (or that of your child), be sure to reward yourself from time to time with an all-out gaming day. This will prevent you from feeling overly restrained.
2. Exercise and Stretch
Too much gaming can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, causing obesity. Exercise can help you combat the effects of sitting in front of the TV or computer screen for hours.
Before playing video games, try to spend at least thirty minutes exercising.
You should also make an effort to move more throughout the day. A simple change such as taking the stairs can reduce your risk for obesity and improve your heart health.
While gaming, try to stand up and stretch for a few minutes every hour. Doing so promotes healthy circulation and will prevent you from feeling stiff after sitting too long.
3. Don’t Play Before Bed
It may be tempting to play games before going to sleep, especially if you have a computer or console in your bedroom.
However, playing video games in the hours leading up to your bedtime can drastically decrease the quality of your sleep.
The artificial light produced by electronic devices suppresses melatonin, the hormone that regulates our body’s circadian rhythm.
Playing video games at night prevents your body from winding down and getting ready to sleep. As a result, you will take longer to fall asleep and may even suffer from insomnia.
Try to stop playing at least one hour before your bedtime to prevent the adverse effects that blue light can have on your sleep.
4. Protect Your Eyes
Screens can also negatively affect your vision, especially if you sit too close to the screen. You may get headaches or feel that your eyes are strained.
No matter what type of electronic device you are using, try to distance yourself from the screen. Just be careful not to sit so far away that you squint your eyes as you play.
In addition, you should never play video games in the dark. The contrast of the bright screen and the darkness around you is bad for your vision.
If possible, dim the brightness on your screen or adjust the settings in your video game.
Blue light glasses make the tones appear warmer and help protect your vision. Remember to wear them when using any electronic device for long hours.
Lastly, you can protect your vision by taking a break from all electronic devices every hour or two. Even if it’s just for five minutes, you will reduce the strain on your eyes.
Since gaming requires focus, it can be easy to forget to take breaks. Try to pause the game and rest when you get to a new level or before starting a new match.
5. Set Aside Time for Friends and Family
Spending most of your time alone playing video games may cause you to feel lonely, depressed, and disconnected from those around you.
Even though you are having fun and socializing while online gaming, offline social interaction plays a vital role in maintaining your mental health.
Make it your aim to spend quality time with a friend or family member at least once a week. This type of social interaction will reduce your risk for depression, promote a sense of belonging, and boost your mood.
Creating Healthy Gaming Habits
In moderation, video games are a healthy and beneficial form of entertainment. Knowing how to avoid unhealthy gaming habits can help you prevent addiction or harmful side effects from excessive gaming.
Put these healthy gaming habits to use in your life and teach your children too! You will likely notice positive changes to your health, both physically and mentally.
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