Friday, September 12, 2014

Gaming and Health

One antidote to feeling sick? Play games! Of course!

How about we change things up a bit and start this article with a script-like sequence?

Gamer A: *playing a handheld game* I'm just awesome at this game! Scoring points at will and crushing the bad guys like a boss! How about you?

Gamer B: *tries to play a handheld game* *sneezes* Ugh! Dude, I don't feel so well. I mean, I'm well enough to be here but I'm just coming back from a cold, you know?

Gamer A: Why don't you get some rest? It don't sound like you're all the way back.

Gamer B: Oh, I'll be fine! I'm bouncing back! *sniffle* Believe me! I'm fine! 

The example that I am showing here would be the event of one gamer not exactly having his health where it should be. This isn't normally a topic that is talked about in depth, but I suppose that it wouldn't hurt for me to take a stab at this topic. The Video Game Industry tackles all sorts of issues related to the content of the games to the socializing experiences gamers have with their favorite games. However, how does a gaming experience apply to a stretch of time where an otherwise avid gamer just isn't feeling 100% in health?

Like with anything else that we do in life, when we become sick or ill, we are given warnings about our activities and that we are doing just a bit too much to push ourselves throughout the day. When one gets sick, the main reason for the lack of good health is the fact that a person just hasn't taken good enough care of his or her body. I am told all the time that my body speaks to me in the form of "I'm healthy" or "I'm not doing good at all."

For instance, picture a gamer who plays video games for a large amount of time per week. Let's say this gamer is hardcore, playing around 30 hours. This gamer parties and celebrates from time to time and invites some of his friends over for a meetup. They all party together and play video games, snacking on munchies and drinking soda. They all feel really good and they have plenty of fun.

However, the next day, this hardcore gamer comes down sick, sneezing, hacking (and I don't mean ROM hacking), coughing... you name it and this guy does it. This gamer is in the kind of condition where he really should be in bed catching some sleep, but because of his willingness to play games, he stays up and plays more video games. To be sure, there is the act of being a dedicated gamer, but there is also the act of being reasonable with your health and just listening to your body.

I feel, in my opinion, that sometimes gamers refuse to listen to their bodies when they start coming down with something and get sick. You can sometimes see it on their faces that they are not doing well at all, and yet, they will try everything they can to remain active on the gaming scene because that is what they love to do, play video games.  Here is another script-like example of a less than healthy gamer.

Gamer C: *yawns* Man! I wish I got more sleep! Anyway, how was the playthrough of that RPG?

Gamer D: Were you awake enough to watch some of the gameplay? I leveled up to Level 9 during that critical battle! Without leveling up, I may not have beaten that boss! 

Gamer E: *coughs* I liked the relay system those characters used. They took turns based on the spin of a wheel! *coughs* My throat's sore...

Gamer D: You guys should take it easy! Gamer C, go get some sleep, man! Gamer E, go take some vitamins or something! 

Gamer C: I've had a busy week, man. I've been all over the place.

Gamer E: *coughs* I used to be good at taking vitamins often! Better get some Vitamin C! 

In the above example, Gamer D is just fine but he clearly notices that his two friends are not doing as well as he's doing. Gamer C has confirmed that he's been a tad bit too active, and active to the point where he fails to get in enough sleep at night. Gamer E appears to be coming down with something as his coughs give it away. Sometimes when you get involved with big groups of people in events like gaming conventions, general meetups or friendly gaming competitions, you might be caught off guard by your surroundings, and as a result, you may come in contact with someone or something that may be filled with germs. While you are having fun blasting away obstacles in your favorite shooting game, you may start feeling light-headed for whatever reason, and it wouldn't be because of the game you are playing. Feeling light-headed just out of the blue may be an indicator that you have caught something.

On a daily basis, for whatever I do for the day, I always try to take precautions for the sake of my health. I always take with me a small handheld bottle of hand sanitizer because the odds are high that I could encounter a person who may not be feeling well at all. Before I go outside and take on my adventures, I take all sorts of vitamins such as supplements or liquid vitamins. I do this to build up my immune system and I do this because I have had a track record of respiratory problems. When I do get sick, I get hit in my lungs fairy hard. I almost always get hit hard in the lungs around the winter time.

However, I recently took a mild hit in the lungs because of a supposed virus going on not just through the state of Ohio but nationwide. I don't know how I got in contact with such germs and I don't know when, but there are some things that are best left unexplained. I immediately went to the vitamins when I realized that I was coming down with something. When I notice signs of weakened health, I jump on it as quickly as I can to give it the boot, so to speak.

Back in the day as a kid, whenever I got so sick that I had to miss a day of school, I would get some rest but I would also pop in a video game and play. That was my way of taking it easy, and yeah, I have a smile on my face as I type this part. I guess I knew back then that playing video games was something that I enjoyed doing and it was something that I could see myself developing a passion for. Of course, I wouldn't be able to play video games while I was sick as long as I would play them while I was at normal health. I had to learn how to pace myself. I also noticed that my gaming skills would take a step back while I was sick because I wasn't always together with my planning for each level.

The moral of this story is simply this; Your health takes precedent over your interests and when your body starts telling you "Slow down a bit. I need to recover.", keep your ears open to that. I am happy to report that I am bouncing back from a recent cold. Game on.

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