Serious gaming can feel like as much of a physical activity as an athletic sport. For many popular titles today, you need to focus, think, and move fast to win. In fact, reaction times are everything in fast-paced video games and something you can improve with the right habits.
Here are some great ways to prepare your body so it reacts well to any gaming situation. Explore these fitness, training, and product tips for a healthy, winning gamer lifestyle.
1. Do Hand and Arm Exercises for Flexibility and Grip
Your arms and hands are your most important tools when gaming. Whether on a keyboard or controller, stiff fingers will impact your play. So, in terms of exercise, you need to focus on stretching and strengthening your hands and arms. At the same time, learn some exercises to fix your posture after long gaming sessions.
Gamer Stretch Tips
You’re looking for movements that loosen your joints and ligaments, from fingers to forearms. A great example is the prayer stretch. Press your palms and fingers together with your elbows pointed outwards. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds, while lightly pushing your connected hands downwards for a greater pull on your wrists.
Finger-specific exercises are also a good habit to get into. The simplest but really effective example is the so-called thumb extensor stretch. All you do is place your thumb against your palm and wrap it with the rest of your fingers. Then gently bend your fist towards the pinky’s side.
These are all exercises you can do throughout the day without even thinking about it. However, as Esports Healthcare notes in this video, none of them are supposed to hurt. Don’t push your joints beyond their limits.
Gamer Strength Tips
A strong grip in the controller affects reaction times as much as flexible hands. You could just lift some weights, but there are far more simple and precise exercises for gamers. For example, put your fingers in the loop of a rubber band. Then spread them out as far as you can against the band’s resistance. Repeat as you wish to build your finger muscles.
Even a flexible bar of some kind is useful. While holding it, try pushing it upwards with your thumb. Repeating this movement strengthens the digit. Alternatively, hold one end of the bar, while the other end rests on a table. With your elbow set on the table too, try bending the bar onto itself. A few inches will do for your whole arm to flex.
Buy a Hand Exerciser for Extra Strength
Depending on how serious you are about strengthening your grip, the market is full of options. A reliable choice, however, is a tool like the Django hand exerciser. Its springs work your finger as well as the hand and forearm. The ergonomic and pocket-size design makes it a handy gamer’s companion.
2. Train Your Reflexes and Precision Through Specific Gaming Styles
Apart from a good exercise routine, practice is the best way to improve your reaction times. What you need are specific styles of gameplay that hone skills like precision, hand-eye coordination, and strategic thinking while under pressure.
The fast and engaging pace of tactical first-person shooters is perfect, especially when you need to co-operate with other players too. Shoot ‘em up titles are just as effective in warming up your reflexes. And then you have battle royale games that mash together skills and distractions.
3. Build Endurance by Drinking Water and Eating Healthy Foods
Considering how intense gaming can get, the last thing you want is your body to crash from low energy. Healthy eating habits like fresh foods and regular but well-timed meals are among the top tips from experts in the field. The better the fuel, the longer and better you’ll be able to play.
Sugars and processed foods are not good for a gamer’s mind and body, but hydration definitely is. It’s vital to your health and alertness. And when we say hydration, we mean water. Sodas, coffee, and other popular drinks are just as bad for your reaction times as junk food.
4. Keep Your Hands Warm for Fast Reactions
Cold hands are one of the most common gaming problems that also hinder your reflexes. Whether it’s from low heating or blood circulation, there are lots of ways to counter it. Quick solutions include holding a hot drink for a while and rubbing your hands together.
According to Envavo Gaming, a more intense method involves submerging your hands into freezing water, which shocks the body into boosting your blood circulation. Another reliable way to keep yourself warm is, once again, through exercise; a standard routine for pro gamers.
Buy Gaming Gloves for Warmth and Comfort
For extra comfort while gaming, invest in special equipment. Apart from things like hand warmers, you could get a quality pair of gloves. Opinions differ when it comes to what design is best, but something like Comfy Brace’s compression gloves will cover most of your fingers with comfy, cold-blocking fabric.
5. Avoid Back and Eye Pains With Good Distance and Posture
When having fun, it’s easy to forget about sitting right. But your eyes and back—not just your reaction times—will eventually feel the impact. In terms of distance, the average 20-inch PC monitor should be around an arm’s length away. A bigger display needs a greater distance to fully and safely enjoy it.
Your posture matters to your gaming experience too. Depending on whether you’re playing on a chair or couch, here are some basic points to remember:
- Sit straight with your shoulders back and chin up.
- Keep your arms relaxed and bent at the elbows at around 90 degrees.
- Make sure the top of the monitor is level with your eyes so you’re looking down at it.
Buy a Gaming Chair for Built-in Support
An ergonomic chair is another good investment for all gamers. They’re usually designed for maximum comfort, especially in terms of posture. The Hbada gaming chair, for example, supports your whole body as you sit back, but you can also adjust its height, headrest, and lumbar support.
6. Stay Fresh by Taking Regular Breaks From Gaming
Again, video games are often too fun to stop and put aside for several hours. It’s true, though, that too much screen time can mess with your focus, sleep patterns, and more. Ideally, the average adult gamer should take a break from the computer every one to two hours.
Sit outside. Take a walk. Or do some stretches. A fresh mind and vision will boost your reaction time. If you’re prone to very long gaming sessions, set strict limits. Once you hit five hours, for example, leave the computer for an equal amount of time. Consider investing in some blue light blocking glasses as well to block the monitor’s harmful effects.
Practice and a Healthy Routine Benefit Gaming Reaction Times
How fast your reflexes are while gaming isn’t just a matter of willpower. You’ve got to keep your body strong and agile, so it moves fast when muscle memory kicks in after all those hours of practice.
Setting healthy rules for yourself in terms of nutrition and computer use plays a big part, as does handy equipment like gloves and chairs. All this helps improve your reaction times, a must when considering the rapid development of the gaming world and its continuously evolving platforms.
6 Ways to Improve Your Reaction Times When Gaming | MakeUseOf