Most experienced gamers will have experienced the crash that comes after a long session of hardcore gaming. Gaming at an elite level can exact a pretty heavy toll on both mind and body, leaving you feeling depleted - this can have a pretty significant impact on your gaming performance and overall health.
Professional athletes have known this for a long time - there is a massive body of research surrounding post-exercise rest and recovery which suggests that recovery is just as important as training. While the research surrounding rest and recovery in the context of gaming and esports is still very new, professional gaming teams are beginning to catch on to the importance of recovery strategies in ensuring optimal performance.
What are the impacts of inadequate rest and recovery?
In the competitive world of elite gaming, marginal gains are key. Taking the time to structure your rest and recovery strategy can make a massive difference when it comes to gaming performance. Perhaps more importantly, taking care of your body has a number of critical benefits when it comes to your quality of life.
Inadequate rest and recovery can have a number of negative impacts on your gaming performance, and your wellbeing in general, including:
- Increased response time to stimuli
- Reduced motivation
- Impaired decision making
- Impaired visuomotor capabilities
- Reduced short term memory
In order to minimise the impact of these effects, and improve your gaming performance, here are four easy ways to maximise the impact of your rest and recovery, keeping you playing longer at peak performance.
1. Take regular breaks during gaming
One of the biggest mistakes that gamers make is gaming for too long without giving your mind and body a break. Excessive gaming can cause eyestrain, lead to postural issues and RSI and cause mental fatigue.
While we all know that it can be frustrating to break up those ‘flow states’ that elite gamers strive for, sometimes it’s necessary to stand up, take a break, and let your mind and body rest.
- Set a timer at reasonable intervals to remind you to take a break. It’s all too easy to forget, especially during intense gaming sessions.
- Get your blood pumping. Moving around and performing light calisthenics can help to improve blood flow and circulation - reducing fatigue and improving alertness
- Stretch! Stretching has been shown to improve recovery and help prevent RSI and other postural issues, and helps to keep you limber - this is especially important for games which require rapid physical responses like FPS and RTS games.
- Look away from your screen regularly to reduce eyestrain. Focus on a point far away, and let your eyes adjust to that focal length. Staring at screens for too long can eventually lead to chronic eye damage.
2. Ensure adequate hydration
Hydration is one of the most critically overlooked aspects of optimising rest and recovery. Water intake has been shown to be one of the most important factors in predicting recovery speed in conventional athletes, so why should it be any different for gamers. Keeping hydrated doesn’t have to be tricky. Just keep water on hand, remember to top up regularly and supplement with an electrolyte and hydration support formula like Legion Hydrate.
3. Maintain good sleep habits
Research suggests that sleep is possibly the most important factor when it comes to optimising recovery from physical exercise, and it has been shown that fatigue can have a wide range of negative impacts on cognitive performance. Maintaining good sleep hygiene, keeping to a strict sleep routine, and reducing your intake of stimulants like caffeine before bedtime can help to ensure that your body and mind are adequately rested.
4. Support your body with nutrition
In gaming, hacking is a dirty word. In nutrition and recovery however, taking advantage of a few simple ‘hacks’ can help you to maximise the efficiency of your rest and recovery periods. While there are a dizzying array of supplements on the market, there are only a few that have been proven to have significant impacts on rest and recovery:
- Amino acids - These are the building blocks of cells. Maintaining adequate levels of amino acids has been shown to improve recovery times in athletes.
- Creatine - Creatine helps your body to store water and energy, helping you to play harder, for longer. Creatine is great for recovery, especially after exercise.
- Zinc and Magnesium - Zinc is a trace mineral which has been demonstrated to improve quality of sleep, especially when used in conjunction with magnesium and vitamin B6
- GABA - Gamma Butyric Acid has been shown to promote sleep and reduce anxiety
Legion gaming drinks contain all these vitamins and minerals, as well as extracts from various adaptogenic herbs - providing your body with all of the building blocks needed to support fast, effective recovery.
Rest and recovery - the key to gaming performance
Past a certain point, training can begin to have negative impacts on your mind and body. Optimising your training schedule, and allowing for adequate rest and recovery is key to ensuring peak performance, as well as mitigating burnout.
In order to take full advantage of your resting time, support the recovery process with Legion Rest and Recovery, scientifically formulated to help you stay calm, rested and ready to play.