E-Sports: How to Regenerate and Level Up Your Health Bar in the Real World?

E-Sports: How to Regenerate and Level Up Your Health Bar in the Real World?

If you’re interested in the world of e-sports, you probably know that behind the neon LED lights, passion for playing, and tournament victories, there’s more than building a house in Minecraft or completing the first level of Super Mario. A professional approach to gaming is not just about these gaming tasks themselves but requires a relatively demanding leveling up for every e-sports enthusiast taking it seriously. Gaining these experience points involves dedicating time to mental preparation, physical activity, and, above all, long hours of training through gameplay.

In the article, you’ll discover regenerative tips for e-sports enthusiasts especially in these areas:

What toll does e-sports preparation take?

Professional e-sports athletes train up to 8 hours a day, exposing themselves to various health issues, including but not limited to [2 – 4]:

  • Eye strain
  • Fatigue causing headaches
  • Stiff shoulders
  • Hand cramps
  • Wrist, palm, and forearm pain (such as carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Inflamed tendons, usually in the forearms
  • Back pain
  • Gamer’s Thumb (De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis)
  • Upper and lower cross syndrome

Furthermore, e-sports players also grapple with issues arising from a sedentary lifestyle, a key component of which is improper desk ergonomics, primarily related to poor sitting posture. Studies also highlight a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, various types of cancer, depression, anxiety, fatigue, diabetes, and obesity due to prolonged sitting. Needless to say, none of these contributes to leveling up gaming performance or replenishing the health bar. Similar to athletes in the real world, those in the virtual world need to regenerate and take breaks from gaming to maintain balance in their lives, ultimately positively impacting their gaming performance. How to achieve this will be discussed in today’s article. [1]

What toll does e-sports preparation take?

What does regeneration mean in the world of e-sports?

Regeneration is a natural process involving various bodily activities aimed at restoring physical and mental strength disrupted by previous exertion. It’s akin to playing Soulslike action games such as Demon’s Souls, Elden Ring, Lies of P, or Nioh, where your character has stamina that depletes with each strike. If you don’t let it recover, and the endurance indicator runs out, you won’t be able to continue attacking, and the familiar YOU DIED screen is inevitable.

In the context of gaming and e-sports, we specifically refer to stamina depletion resulting from the strain associated with long hours of training, sitting in front of a computer, and focused gaming. If e-sports athletes don’t give their bodies enough time for regeneration and stamina recovery, they increase the risks mentioned earlier. Moreover, overloading the body can ultimately cost them valuable XP.

While you won’t die like in Bloodborne, depleted stamina will deprive you of further training, leaderboard points, or competitions. In the end, your career will suffer similarly to how real-world athletes would if they ignored rest. So, if you’re training and aiming to be a good e-sports player, it’s not just about spending 8 hours a day in front of a computer, getting some sleep, and expecting everything to be fine. Sooner or later, ignoring regeneration will catch up with you physically. [5]

Regeneration is crucial in the world of e-sports

Regeneration and the principle of supercompensation

When it comes to restoring your gaming stamina, a simple rule applies: the more intense the strain, the longer the regeneration should be. The brain, playing one of the most crucial roles during e-sports training, needs rest just like the body of a runner, cyclist, bodybuilder, or other athletes. In e-sports, however, the focus is not primarily on strong muscles but on the psyche, which is under significant stress during challenging matches. It demands sufficient regeneration and recovery.

The importance of recharging gaming stamina is aptly captured by the principle of supercompensation. In physical exercise, this is a situation that gives our body a stimulus to improve. During e-sports training and immediately afterward, your performance drops below its initial level because you consume physical resources. For gamers, this includes finger muscles, the brain, the back, and everything else involved in the mosaic of their performance. Hence, these e-sports players need sufficient time for recovery. This phase involves various adaptation and additional processes. For example, new nerve connections are formed in the brain, from which your e-sports performance can benefit. And to explore how to support the regeneration process, we’ll look at individual tips below. [6]

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Tips to Support Regeneration for E-sports Players

1. Engage in Exercise

During long hours of sitting at the computer, you may feel unpleasant pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, or upper back. To get rid of these bugs, cheats in the form of physical exercise can help. Here, we don’t mean strength training for massive biceps, but effective exercises for the back muscles. You can incorporate them into your evening or morning routine, or use them to get some stretching done anytime during the day.

They’ll provide relief from back pain and can alleviate tension in the neck and thoracic spine. The best part is that you won’t need any special equipment for these exercises. You can do them on a chair or try using a fitness ball or yoga mat. If you haven’t done similar exercises before, be sure to check out our article 12 Exercises to Release the Neck and Thoracic Spine, which teaches you through GIFs. Focus on making your movements smooth, controlled, and at a slow pace. Similar to e-sports, here too, the most XP is gained when you do these exercises every day. At the beginning, it’s enough to include them at least two or three times a week. [7]

2. Add Stretching

A sedentary lifestyle and insufficient movement associated with e-sports training can contribute to the cessation of using muscles to their full range. Gradually, this leads to their shortening, causing an imbalance in muscle pulls and also means that you’ll use some of the muscles much less than is natural for them. The shortening itself can cause a kind of domino effect, starting with the gradual weakening of specific muscles. This can be followed by lower and upper cross syndrome, which continues with poor posture. This then increases the risk of tension in the neck and spine and can also cause regular headaches. [8]

The most commonly shortened muscles affect the chest, trapezius, hip flexors, and the back of the thighs, or hamstrings. In the case of gamers, contracture can also affect the flexors of the wrists and fingers, which they use in gaming. To avoid this dark fate, stretching can help, aiming to improve joint range. It also keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy.

If you’re interested in proper stretching, read our article on warm-up and stretching. The plus side is that you don’t primarily need any tools for stretching. You can enhance effective stretching, for example, with resistance bands or hanging exercise equipment. [9]

Players should incorporate stretching

3. Consider Visiting a Physiotherapist

The world of e-sports is continually growing, but despite that, it doesn’t have the established background that sports outside the virtual world have. One of the biggest burnt pixels in this industry is still inadequate research and health infrastructure available for traditional sports. That’s why premature career endings for many promising e-sports players are often due to various injuries that prevented them from continuing. Research in this area is still not sufficient, but a 2022 study confirms some unfavorable statistics. It followed 153 e-sports players aged 18-42, revealing that [10]:

  • 27% of e-sports players suffered at least one injury during their career
  • 7% of injuries of e-sports players had to be addressed surgically
  • 41% of e-sports players reported multiple injuries
  • 17% of e-sports players had to miss a competitive season due to injury, averaging 3 weeks.
  • The most common problematic areas were wrists, cervical spine, back, fingers, hands, elbows, and thumbs.

In the world of e-sports, the case of a player named Jian ‘Uzi’ Zihao is quite well known. He was considered a superstar of the Chinese League of Legends scene. However, he had to prematurely end his career at the age of 23, citing chronic shoulder pain as the reason. A similar fate befell a promising talent named Issa ‘Issa’ Rahim, who had several successes in Fortnite. However, he had to end his career at the age of nineteen after two years of competition due to wrist injury associated with nerve damage. [11]

One solution to such issues could be a visit to a physiotherapist, which is proving increasingly relevant in the world of e-sports. Physiotherapists address issues in e-sports players such as tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, inflamed tendons, or various injuries and problems related to incorrect body posture. If you have never visited a physiotherapist before, there’s nothing to fear. The visit begins with a conversation in which your problems are discussed. Subsequently, a movement diagnosis comes into play, which serves to examine and reveal your problems. The physiotherapist will also assess your body posture and may offer tips regarding your chair, table, monitor, and other gaming equipment.

Based on diagnostic results, the physiotherapist will develop an individual plan that may consist of exercises to strengthen upper limb muscles or improve flexibility. During treatment, in certain cases, electric muscle stimulation, warm and cold therapy, or various massage tools may be used to improve mobility and blood flow in soft tissues. Physiotherapy ultimately helps alleviate current pain, address issues with the musculoskeletal system, and prevent the risk of future injuries. [13]

Interesting accessories before visiting a physiotherapist could include a massage roller or massage gun, which can provide pleasant relief for stiff muscles. Similarly, like other massage tools ideal after long hours in front of the computer, they can instantly recharge the “health bar” of your tired back. A good example is an ergonomic mat for back massage, which reliably stretches and relaxes tired back muscles and the cervical spine.

4. Keep in Mind the Health of Your Eyesight

Alongside joints and muscles, the eyes also face excessive strain in the world of e-sports. According to statistics from the American Optometric Association (AOA), an average player spends over 8 hours a day in front of a screen. More than half of them take only one, at most 15-minute break. Excessive screen time can lead to digital eye strain and an increased risk of myopia. AOA, in connection with this issue, conducted a survey that found gamers are most commonly troubled by tired and dry eyes, headaches, or blurred vision.

How to Support Eye Health

Based on this, AOA prepared several tips for gamers and e-sports athletes to support eye health [14 – 16]:

  1. Set a reminder on your phone that alerts you to take a break from gaming and stand up or walk for a moment. Most smartwatches and other wearables also have a similar feature that needs to be enabled in settings.
  2. Use the 20-20-20 rule between matches. Every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  3. Maintain proper hydration to keep your eyes moisturized. Lack of fluids reduces tear production and contributes to dry or strained eyes. Keep a water bottle somewhere in your field of vision around the monitor and remember to drink from it.
  4. Use artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to eliminate the feeling of dry or stinging eyes.
  5. Place your monitor at a sufficient distance, around 50 to 100 centimeters from your body.
  6. Ensure that the room lighting where you play is at the same brightness level as your screen. Smart lamps or ambient lighting can be handy for precisely adjusting the brightness or automatically adapting to your needs.
  7. If you experience frequent vision problems or have blurry vision, it’s best to visit an eye doctor. They can diagnose suitable prescriptions, recommend eye drops, or provide other solutions for your specific issues.

You can also try eye gymnastics, a set of activities and exercises that work out the muscles responsible for eye movement. Through eye massage or eye stretching, it helps relieve tension from daily strain. For example, move your eyes around the edges of your eye sockets for about 2 seconds without stopping. Watch surrounding objects at different distances. Then, close your eyes tightly for 3 seconds to contract the eye muscles and then open your eyes as wide as possible to stretch them. Repeat this exercise for another 5 seconds. [17]

5. Don’t Underestimate the Ergonomics of Your Setup

Gaming ergonomics are crucial and can impact overall comfort and fatigue during play, which, of course, also reflects on the recovery time. Comfort itself is also one pixel in the overall performance of an e-sports athlete. Before you start glaring at your monitor or keyboard, start from the basics, much like building something in Minecraft. Your gaming setup on the table should be arranged to support body posture, ensure an optimal position, and not contribute to higher stress or the risk of injury in the long run.

One of the cornerstones of ergonomics is, of course, the chair. It should be comfortable with good lumbar support for your neck and back. Look for models that are adjustable not only in height but also in armrests and the ability to tilt the seat to perfectly adapt to your needs. You should sit upright with your entire feet flat on the floor. Shoulders should be relaxed, and try to keep your back in a balanced position. Avoid hunching, leaning, or straining the cervical spine.

Equally important is your gaming table itself. Choose one that can be adjusted in height. A general rule in this regard is a height where your arms, while using the keyboard and mouse, form a 90-degree angle. For XP in gaming ergonomics, the position of the monitor is also crucial. The ideal position is at eye level, so you don’t strain your neck by tilting your head while watching the screen. An interesting ergonomic addition can also be an ergonomic keyboard and mouse. These are usually designed to provide enough support and stability to your wrists during long gaming sessions. Despite various ergonomic measures, don’t forget the most important thing during play, which remains the break. While you can’t pause an online game, use the space for a break at least between matches. [18]

6. Take Care of Your Nervous System

When we talk about the care of the nervous system, we don’t mean implants from Night City, for which you enthusiastically visited the Ripperdoc in Cyberpunk 2077. Instead, you’ll have to use technologically more accessible methods that can ultimately help better protect the nervous system from various damages. And why is that important? The nervous network is a system of complex nerve blocks and cells. Importantly for gamers, the brain is also part of the nervous system. This system is also involved in controlling the movements of hands and fingers, which play a crucial role in the world of virtual matches.

Thanks to the nervous system, you can control the keyboard and mouse, perceive what’s happening around you, or come up with a suitable tactic for the next game. The nervous network also allows us to feel and plays a crucial role in maintaining the overall functioning of our body. Despite not living in Night City, there are still various methods that can help take care of your nervous system. [19]

How to Take Care of the Nervous System

One effective way can be mental stimulation. Our brain operates in many ways like a muscle that needs training. You can use various mental tasks and activities that can improve nerve connections and cognitive abilities such as memory, perception, spatial orientation, and similar skills important for gamers. One of the classic and fun activities to support the brain can be puzzles or LEGO building sets. A study from LEGO Japan from 2018 showed that assembling LEGO can enhance concentration, spatial orientation, and creativity. [20]

Foods like eggs, sweet potatoes, fish, or nuts can also support the nervous system. Most of them contain vitamin B7 (biotin), which contributes to the proper functioning of the nervous system. Potassium, magnesium, iodine, copper, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, or vitamin C also serve the same function. You can find them in various foods or use vitamin supplements for their optimal intake. Antioxidants can also be beneficial, helping to protect cells from harmful oxidative stress.

Various breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, or self-care practices can also support regeneration and the nervous system. If you’re interested in this topic, you can learn more about it in the article Self-Care: How to Take Care of Yourself and Be More Content in Life.[21]

7. Make Sure You Use Your Respawn Time to Get Some Good Sleep

If you die in the virtual world during a match, you usually face a respawn. After that, you can return to the game full of energy. In the real world, we need sleep for respawn, which is crucial in connection with recovery. During sleep, our physical and mental strength is restored. The brain uses a SAVE SYSTEM to store new information and gets rid of waste substances. Nerve cells communicate and reorganize, supporting the healthy functioning of the brain.

If you feel tired, unable to think and concentrate during play, it’s possible that you suffer from a lack of sleep. In such a state, you won’t get many points to push you up the leaderboard. Therefore, try to adhere to healthy principles regarding your sleep routine. The foundation is an adequate amount, but it can’t be generalized because each of us may need a different number of hours for respawn. For healthy adults, 7 to 9 hours of sleep per day is considered a general recommendation.

Make Sure You Use Your Respawn Time to Get Some Good Sleep

Try to get the amount of sleep mentioned above and if you feel fit after it, stick with it. However, it may happen that some days you might need more sleep. And of course, forget about recovering lost hours of sleep over the weekend in one night. According to studies, to recover from a lack of sleep, you’ll need about 50% of the time you missed. So, if you lack 20 hours of sleep, you’ll need to add another 10 for sufficient recovery. However, this is only an approximate figure. [23 – 24]

Tips for Supporting Sleep

There are many methods that can support your healthy and sufficient sleep. However, it still holds that if you go to bed at one or two in the morning and your alarm rings at six, no improvements will help you. In essence, even during gaming, you should consider that it’s important to go to bed on time.

Other tips to support sleep include [25]:

If you are interested in this topic, read our article How to Fall Asleep Quickly? Try Simple Tips for Better Sleep. However, other types of respawn are definitely worth mentioning, which can be a game-changer in the world of e-sports. You can find them in the article What to Do When Sleep Doesn’t Work? Focus on These 7 Types of Rest.

Melatonin for Sleep Support for Gamers

8. Hydration, Diet, and Other XP in the Form of Bonus Tips

Replenishing exhausted stamina in the human world definitely involves diet and hydration. Food and fluids are indeed one of the pieces of the mosaic of an efficient e-sports player who uses them as fuel. The optimal amount of nutrients that ensure a regenerated and well-functioning organism is provided by a balanced diet. Each meal should thus contain quality proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

In simple terms, your dietary inventory in terms of proteins should consist of lean meat or its alternatives such as tofu or seitan. These should be combined with complex carbohydrates that will gradually replenish your energy. Examples include rice, pasta, potatoes, bulgur, couscous, oats, or various types of legumes. Also, don’t forget about healthy fats beneficial for a healthy and regenerated brain and heart. You can loot them, for example, from flax seeds, flaxseed oil, rapeseed oil, walnuts, or fish.

If you are interested in nutrition, read our article What is Healthy Eating and How to Learn to Eat Healthily.

“Water mana” is also part of regeneration in the form of diet. Adequate hydration ensures optimal functioning of the body and prevents lost points, which can result from states of insufficient hydration, such as muscle weakness, headache, fatigue, slower reactions, or dizziness. Among the general recommendations for fluid intake are 2.7 liters of fluids for female gamers (approximately 11 cups) and 3.7 liters for male gamers (approximately 15 cups). [26]

However, do not look for the indicator of optimal fluid intake on the monitor in the form of a flashing light. Instead, try to focus on the color of your urine, which, in the case of optimal hydration, is usually light to clear.

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Bonus in the Form of Dietary Supplements

Various supplements focused on mental health can also serve as a great bonus tip for regeneration. In practice, these include adaptogens that support the body’s natural resilience and can help cope with stressful situations during gaming. Among the most well-known are rhodiola rosea, ginseng, or ashwagandha. Their effect can be enhanced by nootropics, which can support cognitive abilities such as memory, concentration, alertness, or reaction time. Among the most well-known nootropics is caffeine, familiar to players who often consume it in energy drinks. An interesting choice may also be l-theanine, which acts synergistically with caffeine, or Bacopa monnieri. [27 – 28]

If the offer of dietary supplements seems too complicated to you, it’s covered in more detail in the article Best Dietary Supplements for Gamers and E-Sports Athletes. You can also opt for comprehensive cheats/supplements in the form of capsules or powder that will support your regeneration and gaming performance.

XBEAM Energy Caps - Capsules for Supporting Gaming Performance, which reliably help on the road to victory in every online match.

Conclusion (Game Over)

Regenerating your health bar is absolutely crucial for e-sports athletes and gamers. Long hours of sitting and playing often take their toll in the form of back pain, fatigue, and other unpleasant symptoms that can cost you important points. That’s why it’s essential to learn to rest and support the regeneration process that recharges your batteries. Regular exercise and stretching can help. In more serious cases, a visit to a physiotherapist could undoubtedly be beneficial.

One of the pixels of the mosaic of a regenerated e-sports player is also eye health, the ergonomics of the gaming setup, care for the nervous system, and respawn in the form of sleep. If you incorporate some of these tips into your gaming preparation, they can help you stay in the saddle longer and train more effectively. At the same time, you will support your overall e-sports career and prevent an early GAME OVER, as is the case with many promising talents.

Sources:

[1] Physical activity – https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity

[2] Esports: Injuries, Treatment, and Nutrition – https://www.upmc.com/services/sports-medicine/for-athletes/esports

[3] ESPORT INJURIES – THE MOST COMMON COMPLAINTS – https://www.esportwissen.de/en/verletzungen-im-esport-die-haeufigsten-beschwerden/

[4] ESPORTS INJURIES – https://esportshealthcare.com/esports-injuries/

[5] Regeneration – https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/fact-sheets/Pages/regeneration.aspx

[6] REGENERATION IN ESPORTS: IMPROVEMENTS BY PAUSE? – https://www.esportwissen.de/en/regeneration-im-esport-durch-pause-zur-leistungssteigerung/

[7] Protahovací cvičení – https://www.fsps.muni.cz/frvs/2012/zakladni-gymnastika/protahovaci.html

[8] Kristen Gasnick - Causes and Treatments for Muscle Contracture – https://www.verywellhealth.com/muscle-contracture-5181072

[9] The importance of stretching – https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-importance-of-stretching

[10] Ari J Clements, Ryan W Paul, Adam J Lencer, Daniel A Seigerman, Brandon J Erickson, Meghan E Bishop - Analysis of Musculoskeletal Injuries Among Collegiate Varsity Electronic Sports Athletes – ​​https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9749791/

[11] Uzi (Jian Zi-Hao) – https://lol.fandom.com/wiki/Uzi_(Jian_Zi-Hao)

[12] Issa – https://fortnite-esports.fandom.com/wiki/Issa

[13] Esports – https://www.physiopt.com/services/sports-medicine/esports/

[14] The effects of gaming and ways to combat eye stress – https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/caring-for-your-eyes/the-effects-of-gaming-and-ways-to-combat-eye-stress?sso=y

[15] William F. Clark - Can water intake prevent CKD? A brief review of the evidence – https://www.thelancet.com/campaigns/kidney/updates/can-water-intake-prevent-ckd

[16] Ergonomics Computer Monitor Positioning – https://workerscomp.nm.gov/sites/default/files/documents/publications/Ergonomics/Info_Ergonomics_Computer_Monitor_Positioning.pdf

[17] What are Ocular Gymnastics? – https://bluenethospitals.com/blog/ophthalmology/what-are-ocular-gymnastics

[18] Gaming Ergonomics: 10 Top Tips for Gamers – https://www.alloffice.co.za/blog/gaming-ergonomics-10-top-tips-for-gamers/

[19] Pooja Toshniwal Paharia - What is the Nervous System? – https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-the-Nervous-System.aspx

[20] Dale Roll - If you want your kids to go to elite universities, give them Legos, Japanese study says – https://soranews24.com/2018/03/17/if-you-want-your-kids-to-go-to-elite-universities-give-them-legos-japanese-study-says/

[21] How to Keep Nervous System Healthy – https://lonestarneurology.net/blog/how-to-keep-nervous-system-healthy/

[22] Kirsten Nunez - What Is the Purpose of Sleep? – https://www.healthline.com/health/why-do-we-sleep#energy-conservation

[23] Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep – https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/public-education/brain-basics/brain-basics-understanding-sleep

[24] Flavie Waters, Vivian Chiu, Amanda Atkinson, Jan Dirk Blom - Severe Sleep Deprivation Causes Hallucinations and a Gradual Progression Toward Psychosis With Increasing Time Awake – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6048360/

[25] Sleep tips: 6 steps to better sleep – https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379

[26] Can water intake prevent CKD? A brief review of the evidence – https://www.thelancet.com/campaigns/kidney/updates/can-water-intake-prevent-ckd

[27] Alexander Panossian, Hildebert Wagner - Adaptogens: A Review of their History, Biological Activity, and Clinical Benefits – https://www.herbalgram.org/resources/herbalgram/issues/90/table-of-contents/feat_adaptogens/

[28] Sara Adaes - WHAT ARE NOOTROPICS? – https://neurohacker.com/what-are-nootropics

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