Whether you are a regular gymgoer who spends some much-needed downtime with a console, or perhaps you are a serious player looking to go pro, there’s no doubt that gaming is a sedentary affair. Now, fitness and mindset coach, Obi Vincent has teamed up with one of the UK’s largest broadband providers, EE, and the gaming talent agent Excel esports, to create GIFT (Gaming Intensity Fitness Training) providing training tips and exercises for gamers.
This innovative fitness routine was designed by Obi Vincent alongside Ewen Bufton, the performance manager at Excel esports (EE), to improve gamer performance. In the workout, demonstrated by Vincent and twitch streamer Sunpi, focus is given to powering-up the stamina and cognitive ability of video game players. EE, while carrying out research for this project found that, in the UK, the average gamer spends an average of 7 hours per week gaming. That figure is thought to increase to approximately 8.5 hours in the USA. EE’s research also found that almost two thirds of players experienced fatigue during gaming sessions and learned that gamers will play for an average of three hours without taking a break. Game play is serious business. Excel esports, which is home to some of the industry’s biggest names, including Fortnite prodigy Jaden “Wolfiez” Ashman (the youngest gamer to earn $1 million in esports), understands that every act of preparation counts when it comes to being the best gamer. In addition to having good physical conditioning, Bufton says that mental wellness is another crucial asset for any player looking to perform at the highest level. Additionally, EE’s research has revealed that over half of the gamers studied experienced feelings of stress while playing. So, to help improve the physical and mental prowess of players, here are 5 top tips on how to stay sharp when playing online:
- Take regular breaks: At least five minutes every hour. Use this time to stretch, reducing the possibility of aches and pains which may distract you while gaming. Practice meditation and deep breathing: When going into a competitive game, relax your body and mind.
- Stay hydrated: Even a small, 1% drop in dehydration may impact your performance. Drink at least 200ml of water every hour, for 8 hours of the day. Start the day with a room temperature glass of water, this helps boost metabolism and is a great way to start the day hydrated.
- Increase your exposure to natural daylight: Ten minutes of daylight within your first waking hour will greatly increase alertness levels, and help you maintain a good circadian rhythm. 10-30 minutes of sunlight at midday helps you get Vitamin D and maintains healthy neuromuscular and immune function.
- Eliminate distractions
Swapping between screens, such as browsing on your phone, will reduce your ability to focus on the game at hand.
Try the EE ‘Gaming Intensity Fitness Training’ Workout
Obi Vincent points out that gamers often fail to understand the impact that physical fitness can play as relates to their overall performance. “This workout will help with full body mobility as well as making sure to strengthen the muscle groups that gamers use mostly,” Vincent tells M&F. “This is very important as prolonged sitting can cause issues like neck strain, wrist pain, and can affect your posture due to sitting at a slight lean when using a computer. It’s also good to give our eyes a break from too much screen time”
Gamers of all physical fitness levels can attempt the workout, designed to provide fundamental movements that will benefit the body when practiced over a period of time.
Upper-body Exercises For Gamers
- Neck Rotations: Shoulder and neck strength is important for gamers to keep agile and perform at their best. Be careful when performing neck rotations however, so that you only use your regular, comfortable, range of movement in a slow and controlled way. Skip this or any other movement if you have, or suspect having any physical issues that may conflict with the exercises in this workout.
- Shoulder Rotations: Shrug up, and drop down slowly. Backward, and then forward rotations.
- Shoulder CARS: This moment may take some mastering so check out the video. Arms to the side, then raise them up, fingers to the sky. Turn palms to face backwards and then lower hands behind the back. Hinge, rotate, and raise arms again.
Hand Exercises For Gamers
- All in the Wrists: Wrist and finger exercises are key to faster movement and pain prevention. With palms flat on the floor, fingers towards you, sit into the stretch to work the forearms. Go as far back as you naturally can, rock forwards and backwards, hold and release.
- Wrist Rotations: Clasp your hands together and rotate in a circular motion, clockwise and counter-clockwise.
- Finger Flexers: Straighten your arms out with fingers up. Push back your fingers with the other hand. Hold and then release.
- Gaming Grips: Grip exercises are crucial to ensure that gamers are sharp with their movements. Using a dumbbell, or anything else that you can pinch and hold, lift the weight with the tension placed in your fingers.
Back Exercises For Gamers
- Gamer’s Glute Bridges (Pigeon Stretch): To ensuring that glutes and hamstrings are kept activated after sitting for long gaming sessions.
- Back in the Game: Combat back injuries associated with sitting in one position for long periods of time. Stretch your thoracic spine by getting down on all fours and arching your back upwards and then downwards for a great lower back stretch.
- Thread the Needle: Again, on all fours, twist your body to the side to thread one arm under the other. Relax your shoulders and move head down to the floor and then come back up. Reach as far in as you can during the threading motion to loosen up the back.
Lower-body Exercises For Gamers
- Glute Fibre Flexes: Increase glute strength so that gamers can maintain strong posture for longer periods of time. With your lower back flat on the floor, raise one leg and drive it up. Squeeze your glutes. Your lower back should come off the floor, then come back down to the mat in a controlled manner.
- Superman: Target legs and upper arms to avoid muscle imbalances and maintain full body fitness. From all fours, move one leg straight out along with the opposite arm. Hold, then switch positions. Keep the core engaged.
- Air Squats: Air squats keep the legs, hips and glutes active.
Some of these gamer exercises may take time to master, but with practice you will progress to the next level, just like with your favorite game. So, whether you are an old-school Mario or Sonic fan, or prefer to tear it up on Mine Craft, Fortnite or Call of Duty, interface with this workout to level up!