All scientific signs are pointing to the fact that we in the younger generation will face the consequences of our lifestyle when we get older, in the form of cardiovascular diseases.
The same fact, used in a perfunctory way, is also the most common criticism of competitive gaming.
I can raise my hand honestly and confess to being guilty of leading a bad lifestyle for many years. I had a good ground physique from my time as a hockey player, but I ate bad food and sat still for many hours in front of a computer on the way to the top of my career as a counter-strike player.
I fought: I became best in Sweden, I became world champion – and I thought that everything worked fine.
Until I was about 19.
When I suddenly started feeling the need to lay down and rest after matches I began to wonder if everything was right. I was falling asleep in the middle of the day, waking up with no breath, full of sweat and not nothing what the time was.
It wasn’t hard figuring out what the problem was.
I had the calory intake of a hockey player, but I didn’t exercise and started to gain weight – weighing far over 100 kilos.
Everything turned around when I started walking, short distances, at a fast pace. I started jogging after six months. The results started to show soon afterward: my mind felt sharper and my reflexes got better.
First and foremost, I felt better. I was generally happier, I laughed more and started to appreciate the small things in life.
That was only 15 years ago. Today, we have a better understanding of the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. It affects your health in a negative way. And it affects your performance as a competitive gamer: you will never be able to oxygenate your brain if you don’t activate your body enough.
All competitive gamers will tell you that the brain is your most important tool – to be able to make fast decisions, react and keep your concentration up during long games.
I could give a lot of tactical and technical advice to young competitive gamers but my best tip is simple – exercise! At least half an hour a day.
At the same time, i want to confront some of the criticism that is often leveraged against our sport. I know that everyone in the professional circuit keeps track of their health and exercises regularly.
But everyone is not a pro, backed up by coaches and teammates. And I know how easy it is to forget to move when time flies in front of the computer screen.
In a nutshell – it is all about finding a balance between quality and quantity.
You need a lot of practice in order to be a successful competitive gamer. But the hours you put in doesn’t mean anything if you don’t move and exercise. Your practice hours will be more qualitative, and you will get physically stronger at the same time.
The equation is simple: you will be a better gamer.
But more importantly, you will feel better.
Emil ”HeatoN” Christensen, åttafaldig världsmästare i Counter-strike