Esports Players Are Subjected to Physical Training and Here Is Why

The esports industry is one where all of its players spend over 14 hours in front of a screen. Whilst they don’t really use their physicality as much as traditional sports players, a lot of people have the misconception that physical health isn’t as important. However, in the current era where gaming is gaining legitimacy and the scene grows more competitive and professional each year, esports players are subjected to a higher degree of training, pressure, discipline, and more. The importance of physical health and not just the mental aspect is becoming more relevant every passing day.

Chess has often been compared to esports because of its similarities. Both don’t require physical exertion and the skill differences between players are largely based upon mental abilities. Interestingly, , shared the extreme physical regimes that the top Chess grandmasters do to be on top of their game. Fabiano Caruana, one of the world’s top grandmasters revealed one of his routines, which consists of a 5-mile run, an hour of tennis, half an hour of basketball, and at least an hour of swimming. Chess world champion, Magnus Carlsen spends a lot of his time working out before tournaments and when not in the midst of competition, he would play soccer or go skiing. Aside from focused exercises, these mind game masters also carry out physical activities in the smallest form such as tapping their feet or chewing gum, all for the sake of a better mental performance. This showcases the significance of physical form and how it is paramount to prepare the brain for mental challenges.

AFK Gaming reached out to Dr. Lindsey “GamerDoc” Migliore, a medical doctor and a gamer, to talk about the importance of physical health and ways to achieve a healthier state. According to her, many players retire in their early twenties from various causes such as a high work-load, better opportunities, physical injuries, and much more. This could be prevented with an emphasis on health, and while one would weigh whether a healthy body or mind is more important, GamerDoc highlighted that “physical and mental health are one and the same, and should be focused on equally.” The body, as a matter of fact, is very closely connected to the brain, so whatever happens to the body would also be implicated to the mind. There are numerous benefits of a healthy physical lifestyle, or exercising in general, but what exactly are we looking at with regards to esports players?

Exercising fosters good mental health for esports players

Most people wince at the thought of hardcore exercises but the level of intensity for exercises differs from person to person. Some would feel better after a hardcore workout session and some might damage their bodies if forced to push past their limits. But fret not, even something as simple as casual movement throughout the day could almost guarantee results in one’s gaming performance.

Improves memory and concentration

Most esports have long-drawn competitions comprising a multitude of gaming sessions. Games require a high level of focus, and concentration at long stretches, which can cause mental exhaustion. Some players might not have the mental stamina to keep up and the quality of their gameplay might drop over time.

With a healthy physical lifestyle, esports players can boost their memory and focus capacity. This is because when a person exercises, the brain releases natural chemicals that affect focus and attention. These chemicals help concentrate better in a longer period of time and it aids the person in paying more attention. When exercising, the person’s brain encourages cell growth and this allows for more information to be stored in their memory. “By performing a set of stereotyped physical warm ups and mental exercises for only a few minutes before gametime, players can train their brains to perform better, faster.” said GamerDoc.

Working out could stabilize emotions such as reducing anxiety and depression and also increasing confidence for esports players. Emotions like anxiety and depression are negative states of mind that can sabotage the everyday lives of people and it will definitely affect one’s performance in-game. Players could feel anxious when making decisions and their worries would overwhelm their ability to properly execute actions. Depression can not only affect your gameplay, but also your teammates’ due to the level of negativity it brings.

Exercising can bring you to the ultimate state of PMA, or Positive Mental Attitude, where players can experience a surge of motivation and also a sense of calmness. When you exercise your brain produces natural chemicals that could act like natural cannabis. This chemical makes the person feel good and rids one of negative emotions in the mind.

While gaming, esports players need to have a calm disposition, whether for communication, decision making, or anything else. They also need stability in their emotions to be able to overcome negative moments or losses in-game, which can be aided by a dose of exercise.

Exercising can also boost a person’s confidence and self-esteem. The person could feel better with a fit physique and when they feel more in control of their lifestyle. When they manage to accomplish certain goals in life such as being healthier, they’ll gain more confidence and self-assurance. Esports players definitely need the element of confidence and this energy is crucial in every competitive sport.

Helps promote a better sleep cycle

A regular sleep pattern is vital for everyone, especially for competitors that need to undergo a disciplined regime. A lot of people are victims of sleeping disorders such as insomnia, where they struggle to sleep, stay asleep, or get enough hours of sleep. This condition is common and the severity varies from person to person.

Esports players would go through mass training and if one forces themselves whilst feeling fatigued, it could be self-destructive. They need enough energy to not only play but perform well, and without a proper sleeping cycle, their performance and health will certainly deteriorate.

A good exercise routine during suitable hours of the day can tugger out your body by bedtime. This allows you to have a fixed sleeping schedule and plan daily routines better without the worries of being tired. Moreover, the quality of sleep can also be improved by exercising more. This means that you may feel fully energized even with a lesser amount of sleep.

We also spoke to Ankit Panth, a streamer and a former CS:GO pro player. He shared the major difference he felt after adapting to a healthier lifestyle. “I used to sleep 10-12 hours a day and play till late night when I started esports but that wasn’t helping. Slowly I started changing my lifestyle and then everything started falling into place. I sleep 7-8 hours which is enough for me as I don’t need an alarm to wake me up and neither do I feel sleepy during the day.” said the ex-CS:GO pro.

Builds physical and mental resilience

Gamers spend a lot of time sitting down to play video games. This also means many parts of their bodies are in a dormant state for a long period of time. This can cause the body to slowly shut down as your muscle weakens and you gradually lose the strength to even carry out normal daily tasks.

Esports players need to put in a proper dose of physical activity to prevent their bodies from weakening. A long period of inactivity might just cause them to struggle to even play normally, likely due to the muscle loss in vital organs including the breathing muscle. Due to this, even the smallest activity might cause you to overwork your muscles, hence causing you to feel tightness and pain.

Ankit Panth also shared with us his routine when it comes to exercising. Following a six days a week schedule, he doesn’t stick to only one set of workouts. “Sometimes it’s heavy weights with 8-10 reps, sometimes it would be light weights with 25-30 reps. I keep switching between a single muscle workout in a day to double muscle the next week so that my body isn’t used to one set schedule. Mainly for gaming I focus more on my back, neck, shoulders and forearms.

The health of one’s body often also reflects the health of their mind. With proper physical health care, you can boost your immune system and prevent mental diseases such as depression and dementia. Exercising has been the key to physical and mental health and with a proper routine, esports players can avoid many conditions, from minimal body discomfort to serious health conditions.

There have been numerous cases where esports players’ careers were in jeopardy due to physical injuries. Lâm “Hai” Du Hải, a retired League of Legends player had to step down from the game due to chronic wrist pain. İsmailсan “XANTARES” Dörtkardeş, a professional CS:GO player had hyperhidrosis which causes his hand to sweat excessively and required him to go through many treatments. Recently, Sébastien “Ceb” Debs, almost missed TI10 due to a sudden eye injury that was fortunately treated moments before he would lose his eyesight.

A lot of precautions can be taken to prevent such incidents or health scares and exercise is one of the simplest steps to start with.

Esports players can live healthier with a proper lifestyle

The esports industry is relatively new and it has been constantly growing over the years. What used to be a pretty laid-back ecosystem has now developed into one of the biggest entertainment industries in the world. Gamers now pursue esports as a career and world competitions now host millions of dollars worth of prize pools. The expansion of esports comes with a wave of extreme competition and players require a lot of resilience to undergo training. To maintain consistent performance and even improve in their respective games, esports players should pay attention to their lifestyle.

Yoga is a very good routine to implement into the daily lives of esports players. Yoga focuses more on meditation and breathing rather than regular exercise and it can promote calmness in a person’s mind. In a competitive industry filled with relentless routines, a dose of relaxation would definitely aid in a healthy lifestyle.

But a very integral aspect which esports players should give credence to is none other than a healthy diet. Nutrition is the key component for strong physical health and a healthy mind. An excellent workout routine will not be sustained by a terrible diet, and therefore, players should pay extra attention to their eating habits. GamerDoc shared her thoughts on a healthy diet for gamers, “Eat breakfast! Focus on the least processed types of foods. If it can survive the zombie apocalypse, you don’t want to put it in your body everyday.” For special occasions like pre-tournaments, players may be subjected to more energy and brain-stimulating edibles. “Certain foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, blueberries, fish, and nuts are “pro-level” and should be prioritized as part of a healthy diet.” said GamerDoc. Ankit Panth also mentioned his gamer diet, “I prefer having full meals if we have matches in the afternoon along with a can of Red Bull before my match. If I don’t load those carbs and proteins, I feel weak. Sometimes when we don’t get time to eat full meals then I switch to my protein bars to keep me fueled.

Esports players need to surround themselves with the right environment. They should position positive elements into their everyday lives, from daily interactions with people to the smallest things such as the type of movies they watch. They should invest in services that provide deeper and more specific insights towards their personal health lifestyles such as a nutritionist or a therapist. Ankit Panth mentioned how he coped with the body pain struggles by investing in Hyperice, an at-home massager product that helps relieve muscles for better performance and recovery. “I remember a few years back when I wasn’t fit and was just playing on my computer for hours, my back and forearms used to hurt a lot. I couldn’t focus on my game. Since I started working out and have corrected my posture, the pain has never returned. I remember massaging my forearms to ease the pain earlier but now that’s taken care of by my recovery partner Hyperice. This has helped me recover faster and do what I love more, which is esports and gaming.” said Panth. He believes Hyperice made a huge difference in his performance and stated that even his teammates enjoyed the product. “It is very important for gamers to recover from physical fatigue to play better,” he added.

We have to acknowledge that as the professional video gaming industry grows, so do its requirements. A decade ago, esports players were primarily focused on nurturing gaming potential and scouting great talent. Then the community understood that stellar talent in esports isn’t enough to sustain a competitive environment. Hence we start seeing mental coaches and psychologists being brought into teams and organizations. Now we take a few more steps ahead to promote the necessity of physical training among gamers, especially professional players. If we do not wish to see a blooming industry crumble, we must consider it vital to embrace the importance of one’s physical strength and health, mental and physical, in esports.

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