Increasing your HP
The schedule of a student-gamer consists of more than spending hours-on-end in front of a screen.
In order to stay healthy, junior Austin Langsy, junior Allison Leo and senior Alvin Tao stick to a tight exercise regime and eat a balanced diet, while playing video games regularly.
Kinesiology professor Kari Jo Hilgendorf said the recommended time for physical activity is an hour a day, five days a week. The hour can be divided between moderate and vigorous activity.
Hilgendorf describes moderate activity as when it’s difficult to have a conversation during exercise but still able to communicate. Vigorous exercise would result in an inability to talk at all during exercise.
“Start slow, don’t just go all-out at one time. Don’t go running five, six miles because you’re going to be super exhausted.”
Alvin Tao, junior
Langsy, who plays games three to four hours a night, goes to the gym three times a week and dances twice a week with SINI-HHA, a hip-hop dance club.
“I lift and do some cardio for two hours,” Langsy said. “On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I dance for about four hours.”
Langsy has been hip-hop dancing for about five years and has been playing video games since he was 7.
Leo focuses more on cardio and plans on doing more free-weight exercises in the future.
“I’m doing casual workouts, but I make sure I have the consistency of going to the gym,” Leo said.
Leo plays about five hours per day, depending on her homework load.
Leo is also a streamer, but said she’s taking a break from it.
‘Streaming’ is live broadcasting of gameplay and the person playing it.
“I tend to stream between three to five hours, so I would have to allocate time just for playing games and streaming,” Leo said.
Some of the games Leo has been playing consistently are Overwatch, H1Z1 and some other indie games with friends.
On days when Leo isn’t streaming, she said she likes to set aside an hour and half just for going to the gym. Leo said she doesn’t have problem managing what she eats.
“[When] eating a well-rounded diet, especially when you’re going to limit your calories, you don’t want to limit the healthy foods. You need to limit the foods that are not as beneficial or at least eat them at a smaller proportion,” Hilgendorf said.
When Tao started to work on his diet he said his friends who were into bodybuilding helped him out with diet and exercise. It takes Tao about 40 minutes to prepare a week’s worth of food.
“I’ll buy my food for the week. So fish and chicken, and I try to minimize sweets and carbs,” Tao said.
Tao recently joined an
eSports team, which means he’s committed more of his game time to the competitive side of gaming. Tao games about eight to 10 hours a day but mixes in some of his homework time in between.
On the weekdays, Tao gets about five hours of sleep and on the weekends sleeps eight to nine hours. Tao said sleeping five hours a night doesn’t affect him throughout the day.
“At first it was pretty tiring,” Tao said. “I think my body has just gotten used to it.”
Hilgendorf said, depending on genetics, some people can function with less sleep than the recommended eight hours.
Tao’s advice for other gamers who want to better their health is to incorporate healthy alternatives into their diet, and begin on a lower level when it comes to exercising and increase intensity as you would get better at it.
“Start slow, don’t just go all-out at one time. Don’t go running five, six miles because you’re going to be super exhausted,” Tao said.
If gamers are struggling with their health, Langsy suggests to make a list of their health goals, get their exercise done during the day and save their game time for before bed.
“Make a set of goals. Whatever gaming time they spend, cut it in half,” Langsy said. “Do everything else other than gaming throughout the day.”
Gaming doesn’t have to mean being unhealthy; with exercise and a healthy diet, not even Bowser can stop you from saving the Princess.