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How Often Should You Take A Break From Video Games?

As gamers, we usually take pride in being able to play for hours. I don't know why we like to do it or why it impresses other gamers, but it does, especially if you're into MMOs. But let me ask you this question right quick:

Are you taking regular breaks from video games? 

I know how most gamers would respond. The answer is no! Why would we? It's just playing video games. And I understand, trust me, I've been a hardcore gamer ever since the Super Nintendo. I've had evenings disappear into thin air, sacrifices to the Gaming Gods.

Young man typing on his gaming keyboard, video games, break

Here's The Deal About Young Gamers

You're able to power through most red flags your body throws in your face. And to the older gamers who still refuse to take frequent breaks from gaming, I know most of you can feel the side effects of not stepping away from the screen regularly. 

Why do we take pride in being able to marathon games? We all know it hurts us. Our hands hurt, our wrists hurt, our backs hurt, our shoulders hurt, our eyes hurt, our brains get real foggy, and then we finally stand up like we're draugr in Skyrim. 

It's like gamers develop this type of... masochism. 

This website is all about improving our relationship with gaming. And a big part of that is to prioritize our health and well-being. Taking frequent breaks throughout our gaming sessions is preventative medicine.

Close up of gaming keyboard, video games, gamers

How Long Should My Breaks From Video Games Be? 

The most common recommendation is to take a break from video games for 5-10 minutes every hour. 

And the most common piece of advice from other gamers is to stretch out a bit, get some water from the kitchen, and maybe look out the window for a bit or even step outside for a couple minutes. 

Take note it's better to take a short break every hour than it is to take a longer break every 2-3 hours. It's not like you can stay up for a week and then sleep for 56 hours straight. 

Like I said, the takeaway of this article is about taking preventative measures to take care of ourselves and prevent damaging ourselves from sitting down and staring at a fixed position for long stretches of time.

Man hard at work, at his desk, not taking a break

You Don't Have To Be Strict About Taking Breaks

The whole point is to just be more mindful of how your mind and body feel. 
  • Are you feeling a bit groggy and not as focused anymore? 
  • Do your joints hurt? 
  • Does your back hurt from sitting so long? 
Taking frequent breaks is a form of both mindfulness and moderation, a couple things many gamers do not possess and it hurts us greatly in the long run.

Man sitting, holding a video game controller

Take A Break When You're Frustrated Or Angry

The last major reason to take frequent breaks is to keep yourself cool, calm, and collected when you can't get past a certain level or keep losing in competitive matches.

Prevent becoming a toxic player and step away from the game when you feel yourself getting too aggressive and salty, especially if you're gonna take it out on your teammates.

No one will want to play with you if you allow yourself to have a bad attitude.

Young boy crying, angry

A Few Things Before You Leave

I've made this recommendation to a few friends that have been dealing with fatigued wrists and carpal tunnel syndrome: 

Buy yourself a grip strengthener. It's one of these jammies: Amazon Link

Not only will it strengthen your grip, it'll help prevent sore wrists and hands you might otherwise get from those long gaming sessions. So when you do take your break, get some water, stretch a bit, and complete a couple sets of grip strengthening!

Take it slow, start off light, and don't go too hard and kill your grip for the rest of the day, maybe even a few days.

Man stretching at his desk, taking a break

Another great thing to do is come up with a simple stretch routine. Here's a decent video on it: Youtube Link.

It has corny background music, but the stretches are convenient and don't require you to pull out a yoga mat. 

Last recommendation is to challenge yourself to do some kind of exercise every time you fail or die in the game. For example, lots of gamers like to punish themselves with push-ups or burpees every time they die in a competitive game. 

For me, I would prefer 30 seconds of jogging in place since that'll help pump blood through my body and fight against the negative effects of sitting down for long stretches of time. 

That's all I have for now, gamers. Be sure to bookmark us so you can return in times of need. See you on the battlefield!