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5 Simple Things Gamers Should do Every Day to Stay Healthy

5 Simple Things Gamers Should do Every Day to Stay Healthy

If you are a gamer, you’ve probably heard the same sentence over and over again, “Get up and work out more, start living a healthier life.” It’s either your parents or your inner voice, but whatever the case, these thoughts prevent you from relaxing and having a decent gaming session.

So, I have decided to share a few things about how to spend a lot of time playing video games and not feel guilty about it. At the same time, I’ll give you some useful tips to help you stay healthy and fit.

Common problems

First of all, there are problems that occur due to a lack of physical activity, and there are problems like common illnesses, which can still prevent you from having some quality gaming time. Both problems are common with gamers, since most of the day, they spend their time sitting and playing. An unhealthy diet and lifestyle are very likely to cause them to come down with some sort of illness.

It is important to build up a good immunity system so that you do not go down with things like a common cold, a fever, a headache, stomach pain, back pain, obesity, etc. Luckily, there are easy remedies for all these common problems that can help you live a little longer, so there is nothing to be too alarmed about, if they do happen.

However, these problems may be tolerable now, but as far as the future is concerned, you should be alarmed. In order to secure a healthier future, you will have to alter your routine a bit and adopt a few healthier habits.

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Of course, the point of all these tips is to still allow you to enjoy video games, so that you can win on both fronts. The point is to maybe lose some weight and prevent obesity and get more activity in general. Sitting is really bad for your heart, and you do need a more resilient immune system.

Hydrate

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    You might spend hours behind a screen and drink maybe two glasses of water at best. That’s really not even close to how much you really need. So, always have a bottle of water right next to you, and one of those vitamin pills, or magnesium pills. One glass of water can be consumed with the pill, and you should do your best drink some water every half an hour. When you need to go to the bathroom, use that time to stretch a bit and to take a small break.

    With the constant intake of new fresh water, you reduce the chances of headaches and your body is more active in terms of filtering out all the bad stuff. Also, you need to replenish your supplements, and magnesium is one of the most important elements for our metabolism.

    Staying active

    As you can see, simply taking more water won’t solve your problem, and even with couple of extra bathroom breaks, there is still a long way to go. You probably love to invest in gaming equipment, like chairs, mouse pads, new keyboards, etc. Well, if you play on consoles, you can get an exercise bike and paddle as you play.

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    You are still in one place, your legs are more active and it will hardly make your gaming time more difficult. Furthermore, you will remember to hydrate since your body will want water. In case you feel like it is difficult to play video games as you paddle. It’s simply a new challenge and an obstacle to overcome.

    As far as PC gamers are concerned, there is a treadmill desk you can try out. It’s a bit more challenging than a bike, since you don’t get to dictate the pace, but again, it is noting a true gamer cannot manage. With this kind of play time, you get to level up with your character and gain strength and stamina together, so it’s definitely worth a shot.

    Stretch

    As mentioned, sitting is really doing a number on your health, and you need to get the blood running. Luckily, games nowadays give you plenty of time to take a small break and stretch. There are loading screens in each game, so you have a time window to stand up and move a bit. There are waiting queues, where you wait other players to join in a multi-player game, and you also wait for them to either pick a character, or manage other features until the game starts.

    Also, in games, you die and wait for the respawn, so put that time to good use. After all, it’s a nice incentive to stay alive longer in game if you punish yourself with 5-10 push-ups after each death.

    Sleeping

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      Considering how your eyes are constantly exposed to the screen, it is not too surprising that you are having a hard time falling asleep. By following the tips mentioned before, you should get a bit more exhausted, and therefore, you’ll be able to fall asleep more easily.

      Unfortunately, that may not always be the case, and even if you are tired, falling asleep on time might prove difficult, and if you are to stay healthy, you need to have a healthy sleep cycle. So, you should stop playing one hour before bedtime to allow your eyes to rest. This gives you some time to do a 10-15 minute stretch exercise and relax.

      You can also eat food that will help you fall asleep more easily, but make sure you eat at least 2-3 hours before you turn in. You can eat some light snacks like cheese and crackers, almonds, walnuts, lettuce, or pretzels. Canned tuna, cereals and rice are good options for dinner meals, if you want to fall asleep quickly.

      You can add chamomile tea or passion fruit tea as an after meal drink. Sweeten your tea with some honey, and you’ve created an awesome “sleepy time combo”.

      Workout games

      Finally, the games you choose to play can also reflect on your lifestyle and health. Gamers tend to frown upon video games made for Nintendo Wii and for Kinect, but these are actually really fun games to play with your friends. They require you to stand up and move around, and they will have you sweating like crazy in no time.

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      Like I said, these are fun games to play when friends are around, since there is little joy or entertainment when you jump in your room all alone. In other words, you should organize friendly gatherings more often and play some of these games. You will see how they will slowly draw out your competitive side, and very soon, you’ll find yourself actually trying to be better, and you’ll be putting in extra effort.

      Well, we hope this helps you out and inspires you to alter your lifestyle a bit. As you can see, it will only take up a small portion of your gaming time, but you’ll be far more active, healthier, and you will socialize more. Games are truly an amazing art form and we should all enjoy them, but let’s not forget about our health, since it is also kind of important.

      Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/users/superanton-303885/ via pixabay.com

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      Djordje Todorovic

      Blogger, Gamer Extraordinaire

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      Last Updated on November 15, 2019

      Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

      Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

      Wouldn’t you like to be able to eat twice as much as you do now without gaining weight? If so, I have good news for you because this is possible when you learn how to increase metabolism.

      How Much Do You Know About Metabolism?

      Before we get to the meat, let me say that metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body.[1] These chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning, however, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with the metabolic rate or the number of calories you burn.

      The metabolic rate is a rough estimate of how much energy your body needs to simply stay alive and perform all its biochemical reactions. These reactions require energy, aka burn calories.

      Imagine that your brain alone consumes nearly 20% of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure at rest),[2] your digestion and the detoxifying system come second, repairing tissues third and so on.

      Staying alive is expensive for your body and its two main currencies are fats and sugars.

      When I am talking about improving your metabolic rate (metabolism), I mean improving the amount of energy, your body requires to (pretty much) lay down in bed and do nothing for 24 hours.

      Extra physical activity, extra thinking or fighting illness are things that require a lot of energy (burn a lot of calories) but they don’t really increase metabolism… actually they can decrease it.

      Can You Naturally Change the Speed of Your Basal Metabolism?

      The answer to this question is yes and you can also achieve an increase in metabolism and a drop in body fat by eating more.

      Shocked? Well, I was too.

      The way I came across this phenomenon is quite funny. Over my 10 years as a coach, I helped many busy professionals to naturally increase their metabolism by getting them leaner, fitter and stronger but, at the beginning of my career, I actually had no idea whether they were losing weight because of an increase in metabolism or because we created a calorie deficit with diet and exercise.

      When I was training my clients regularly, they would lose weight. Every time I would take a few weeks of vacation, I would come back to London and find out that most of them gained back a generous amount of weight despite the fact that they were following their diet and they swapped our weight training sessions with cardio.

      On the contrary, when they were going on vacation, they would do zero exercises and binge like there was no tomorrow but come back either lighter or weighing the same (but looking more muscular).

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      Observing this phenomenon happening over and over again, got me curious about the mechanics of our metabolism and the ways to hack it.

      Was it really possible that by relaxing and eating more food, someone could actually maintain his/her current weight or even be losing fat?

      Driven by the desire to answer this question, I spent a good amount of years researching and testing different food strategies until I finally cracked the code to an improved metabolism that allows you to eat like a king and look like a Greek God.

      Does Eating More Increase Metabolism?

      Before I explain why eating more increases your metabolism, let me dig into something that I see people doing much more often: “eating less and moving more.”

      It is quite common to see people embarking their yearly weight loss journey (usually after Christmas or Easter) by following very restrictive diets and bombarding their body with several hours of exercise per day.

      Despite the short-term effectiveness of this approach, in the long run, if the goal is to increase metabolism and lose a lot of fat over an extended period of time, this simply won’t work.

      As I have mentioned before, eating fewer calories and exercising more are energy-consuming activities for your body. In the first case, your body needs to use its own energy reserves to top up the missing energy it needs to fully function; and in the second, it takes your body extra energy to contract your muscles.

      In both cases, your TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure at rest) doesn’t vary much; therefore your metabolism stays unchanged.[3]

      A different scenario happens when you eat less and move more for an extended period of time (weeks or months). In that case, your metabolism will slow down because your body is receiving a “we have little access to food and we need to run away from threats” signal.

      Your metabolism is like your bank account.

      To understand this concept, let’s imagine that you have $4,000 coming into your bank account each and every month. The money you spend on housing, transport, food and leisure are calibrated according to this monthly income.

      Now, imagine that a rich uncle starts to send you $1,000 each day. What would you do? Probably, you would save that money for the first two or three days but, when you notice that $1,000 keep on coming every single day, you would likely start to spend more right?

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      What if, instead of a rich uncle sending you money, a poor uncle needed your financial help to pay for the treatments of his illness? You would probably try your best to adjust your spending according to your old $4,000 monthly budget.

      That’s exactly how your body reasons:

      More Resources Coming in = More Energy Released (Improved Metabolism)

      Fewer Resources Coming in = Less Energy Released (Decreased Metabolism)

      Note that activities like weight training[4] and high-intensity interval training (HIIT),[5] when combined with an increase in nutrient-rich foods, will also improve your metabolism.

      For this reason, today, when I coach a new client, I always start by increasing their daily food intake and their physical activities. Usually, people are quite confused because they come to me to lose weight and I tell them to eat more but, without fail, the next weekly weight-check shows a lower number.

      Be aware that not all foods are equal and only certain foods have the power to increase metabolism to a noticeable extent.

      Foods That Increase Metabolism

      Doubling up on Snickers bars won’t improve your metabolism and you know that. What you may not know is that certain foods that are marked as “healthy” doesn’t help you with increasing your metabolism. They also make you gain weight.

      Before giving you a list of foods to eat or avoid, let me explain a simple principle of human biochemistry.

      Your body uses energy from three (or four) main sources:

      • Sugars: whether you eat a Snickers bar or a banana, the carbohydrates contained in both get absorbed in the gut and become blood glucose (the basic form of sugar our body utilizes as a source of energy).[6]
        When blood glucose is present in the bloodstream (elevated levels), the body always uses it as its primary source of energy. When blood glucose levels drop (this phenomenon happens when you’re using these sugars to fuel a physical activity or when your pancreas produced a spike of insulin and stores that glucose into fat and muscles), your body starts to release fatty acids into the bloodstream to use as a source of energy.
      • Fatty acids: either from your own fat cells (adipocytes) or from whatever fat-containing foods you ate in the past 2-3 hours. Fatty acids are a slower and more consistent form of energy than sugars that your body can utilise.
      • Amino acids: Amino acids are the broken-down form of proteins. Proteins cannot be used by the body as a source of energy, not even in their broken-down form. Your body can transform amino acids into glucose with a process called gluconeogenesis.[7] This is a very inefficient process where a decent amount of energy gets wasted (and that’s a good thing for us but I’ll get to that later).
      • Ketones: when you don’t feed your body any source of carbs (or proteins in excess), your liver produces an alternative source of energy called Ketones. It can replace the need for glucose (most of it at least).[8]

      Now that you know the four energy sources the body can use to fuel its metabolism, let’s get to the meat (quite literally).

      To make this simple for you, I am going to divide foods into three categories:

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      1. Red Flags – Avoid the red foods because they slow your metabolism. They are usually extremely low in micronutrients and high in antinutrients (agents that are highly toxic). They are highly processed or spike your insulin levels (therefore stopping your fat burning process).
      2. Orange Foods – Limit your consumption of orange foods. The orange foods on the list are suboptimal choices but they don’t have a negative impact on your metabolism when consumed in moderation. In fact, they contain a decent amount of micronutrients and, if eaten in small amounts, they shouldn’t stop your fat burning process.
      3. Green Foods – These are foods to consume most. Green foods will improve your metabolism and should be the main bulk of your diet.

      Next, I’ll get into details exactly what foods to eat and avoid:

      Sugars and Carbs

      Sugars do not directly improve metabolism because they stop the process of fat utilisation. There is an exception to this rule though. When you eat a diet extremely low in carbohydrates and sugars for an extended period of time (two to six days onwards), introducing carbohydrates and sugars can actually improve metabolism quite a bit.

      Unfortunately, for most of us that love eating bread, pasta, fruit and yoghurt, unless we were on a low-carb diet for the past few days, these foods are not an optimal choice.

      Sugars like fructose (found in fruit or commercial sugar) actually decrease metabolism and should be limited. Heavily processed sugars and carbohydrates should be also limited. Here is the colour list of sugars and carbs that affect metabolism:

      Red Flag Sugary Foods You Should Avoid:
      • Dried fruit
      • Commercial and packaged corn
      • High fructose corn syrup
      • All sorts of candies and lookalike
      • Packaged fruit juices and purees
      • Sugary dairy products like flavoured yoghurt, condensed milk etc
      Orange Sugary Foods You Should Limit:
      • Bread and flour-based products
      • Milk and also vegan milk alternatives that are sweetened
      • Most fruit (exceptions are in the green list below)
      • Potatoes and potato starch products
      • Oatmeals and other grains
      Green Sugary and Carb-Containing Foods That Improve Metabolism
      • All berries except strawberries
      • Tubers like squash, carrots, parsnips etc
      • Sweet potatoes
      • White rice
      • All green vegetables

      Fats

      Fatty acids and fats, in general, can improve or decrease metabolism depending on their composition.

      Red Flag Fatty Foods You Should Avoid:
      • Margarine and hydrogenated fat
      • Lard
      • Gmo oils
      • Most vegetable oils from seeds and peanut oil
      Orange Fatty Foods You Should Limit:
      • Nuts
      • Meat fat
      • Nut oils (macadamia, almond, cashew etc..)
      • Seeds
      Green Fatty Foods You Should Eat Daily
      • Extra virgin olive oil (non-heated)
      • Avocado
      • Coconut oil
      • Butter (organic)
      • Egg yolks (free-range)
      • Bone marrow

      The fatty foods in the green section tend to be very effective in increasing metabolism, especially in the absence of carbohydrates because they stimulate the production of ketones (I’ll talk about this later).

      Bear in mind that 1 gram of fat has 2.5 times the calories of a gram of protein or carbohydrates; therefore “eating more fats” to increase metabolism should be done very gradually to avoid weight gain.

      Proteins

      Eating food not only sends regulatory signals to your brain about abundance vs scarcity of resources, but it can also increase your metabolism for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).[9] It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.

      Protein causes the largest rise in TEF.[10] It increases your metabolic rate by 15-30%, compared to 5-10% for carbs and 0-3% for fats

      Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating, in fact, a study found that people were likely to eat around 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet.[11]

      Also, proteins help preserve muscle mass.[12] The more muscle mass we have, the higher our basal metabolism is.

      For these reasons, the first nutritional advice I usually give to clients is to reduce sugars and increase proteins. This quick swap is often enough to kickstart their metabolism and commence the fat burning process.

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      Red Protein Sources That Should Be Avoided
      • Cheap whey proteins
      • Soy proteins
      • GMO meat
      • GMO eggs
      • Packaged meat
      Orange Protein Source to Be Limited
      • Canned tuna
      • Canned fish
      • Canned meat
      • Gluten-rich products like Seitan
      • Farmed fish
      Green Protein Sources to Have Daily
      • Free-range meat
      • Free-range eggs
      • Wild meat and fish
      • Whey protein isolate
      • Collagen and beef protein hydrolyzed

      Note that this is a general categorisation of the foods that, when added to your diet, have the power to increase or decrease metabolism. There are some specific foods and supplements worth mentioning because they have been proven to improve metabolism by increasing thyroid output or resting heart rate, they are as follows.

      Other Foods and Supplements

      Cold water

      Drinking water may temporarily speed up your metabolism. Studies have shown that drinking 17 ounces (0.5 litres) of water increases resting metabolism by 10-30% for about an hour.[13]

      This is not a surprise since our body is made up mainly by water and proper hydration is key to a fast metabolism. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature.

      MCT Oils or Powders

      Medium-chain triglycerides or MCT have been shown to improve metabolism by stimulating Ketone production.[14] Coconut oil contains MCT fats and, when used as a replacement for cooking oil can help you improve metabolism.

      You can buy the concentrated version of MCT oils and eat it separately to further enhance this effect. Either way, coconut oil or pure MCT oil can be a great addition to your diet if you’re following a ketogenic or intermittent fasting protocol.

      Caffeine

      Caffeine and coffee have been shown to improve metabolism by improving heart rate and, therefore improving calorie consumption.[15]

      Green Tea

      Green tea

      is thought to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and to reduce fat production and absorption.[16]

      Bottom Line

      In this article, I just covered the basics of food and metabolism but, there are many other non-food related things you can do to improve your metabolism, like improving your sleep quality and following certain exercise routines.

      For now, just know that making small and gradual changes to your diet can increase your metabolism and improve your general health. Starting from changing one habit at a time is always the best strategy to accomplish any goal.

      Once you improve your diet, your hydration and your supplementation you can think about testing more advanced “bio-hacks” or techniques like ice baths and fasted HIIT training.

      And remember, having a higher metabolism doesn’t only help you lose weight and keep it off but it also give you more energy and a feeling of vibrancy. If you give it time, it really is worth the investment.

      Featured photo credit: Fitsum Admasu via unsplash.com

      Reference

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