30 July 2015 - 16:16
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Improving Gameplay Outside of the Game, Physically and Dietarily

This article will show you how to optimize your In-game performance in League of Legends using methods that occur outside of the game itself.
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Intro

This article will show you how to optimize your In-game performance in League of Legends using methods that occur outside of the game itself. I will mostly go over physical and lifestyle based approaches to improve efficiency within your gameplay. If you wish to follow processes and methods in this article, then you should be prepared to change yourself and your lifestyle in some cases. Many habits require quite a bit of devotion and some are frankly hard to implement within your life.

 

Physical 

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Exercise

Exercise is usually the first word that comes to mind when faced with the topic of physical activity. Though exercise may seem to be a daunting task to many, it is crucial for staying healthy and keeping your stamina to a maximum. Exercise should be normally done, usually on a daily basis, but it should not be done in quick succession. If you have a large exercise schedule, split it up into multiple parts throughout the day. On the same note, do not keep partitions of exercise too close together in your day.

Now you may ask yourself. When should I exercise? Before, I talked about how you should split up your exercise schedule if it is too large for one session and too keep these sessions somewhat equally distant from each other, but you should also think about when you are exercising in relation to other actions throughout the day. Two basic times to exercise are before and after your sessions of playing. If you choose to exercise before your games, it helps you relieve stress and also gets you active for the game increasing attention span. Performing exercise after your sessions of gaming may also give you a good finisher to your work, doing effectively the opposite of exercising before your session. In an analogy using a highway, you can think of the highway as your gaming session in SoloQ or League of Legends, in general. You can then think of the exits of the highway as your exercise periods, they help you transition between different states of mind.

 

Stretching

As important as exercising is, stretching is equally if not more important. Stretching helps brace your muscles and tendons for movements and prepares your body for action. Before and after exercise, stretching is crucial, but stretching is also critical when you are not exercising. By regularly stretching, you can drastically reduce your risks of injury on crucial body parts in gaming such as your neck, back, arms, and hands. Stretching is all important if you plan to operate a computer for a portion of your day. As you may have seen, many E-Sports players incur injury because they fail to stretch regularly.

First, I will talk about when you should stretch. To put it blatantly, you want to stretch a lot. I suggest you stand up and stretch your arms, legs, back and pretty much everything in between games. I will talk more about getting up and moving around in the Breaks section. In the loading screen, take a moment to stretch out those ever important phalanges of yours and make sure they are nice and functional! 

A very common defect of not stretching is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, commonly known as simply Carpal Tunnel, is caused by the inflammation of the tendons found in the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is in between your flexor retinaculum and its transverse ligament the carpal ligament which forms a sort of tunnel like-opening in between your pisiform bone and your trapezium. These inflamed tendons then pressure against the median nerve that runs through the carpal tunnel parallel with these tendons. Note that health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and other inflammatory disorders can raise your risk for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Other injuries can occur, whether they are stretching related or not, such as sprains or fractures in the hands or writsts. Many big E-Sports names have been inhibited by injuries like these, cases include Bjergsen, Hai and Creaton. Some sprains, fractures, or other hand related injuries may not be prevented from stretching, because many of them are spontaneous, accident related incidents. Ignoring your medical conditions can be worse that the initial condition itself. If you feel any pains or strains in your hand, wrist, or arm, then you should take measures to seek aid to prevent further damage as soon as you can. After your doctor takes his course of action, try to not necessarily stretch your injured areas, for this may cause problems with the prior injury, but try to allow range of motion back into that area. An example would be to move around your wrist making it move to its maximum potential movement, after you had previously sprained it. Your doctor will probably recommend this to you, but if you do not practice your range of motion, you may notice decreased movement with that joint and you will notice that you may have not been able to move it in positions that you could prior to the injury.

 

Ergonomics

Learning how to posture your body and body parts while operating a computer is very crucial to maintaining a healthy experience while gaming. Ergonomics is just that! There are many rights and wrongs when it comes to having good body posture and maintaining it. You may find that you already have good habits, or you may find that you don’t. Ergonomics goes hand-in-hand with stretching, because it promotes proper body position, which in-turn reduces the risks of injury and muscle/tendon strains.

You may have seen many people who play lots of video games who have bad hunches or do not keep bold, stern shoulder composure. It is a common stereotype to group these symptoms with computer use in general. Rather than prolonged computer use, it is more or less the abuse of body posture that causes these habits. Contrary to popular belief, adjusting body posture and practicing good ergonomics can prevent these habits and can make sure you do not strain certain muscles or tendons while using a computer for a longer duration of time. When using a chair to sit down and play, use the entire chair. This is as simplistic as it seems, yet very hard to get used to for some. Make sure that your back is parallel to the back of your chair, while being against it. Keep your entire gluteus maximus as far back in the chair as you can. This allows the chair the help support your body and to help reduce pressure on your Ischium, a bone located on the bottom side of your pelvic bone, as well as other areas of the body. While playing, do not force yourself to be close to the screen. Your body tends to want to get closer to the thing it is focusing on, which is a natural reaction. Though it may be done unconsciously, try to move your chair closer to the screen rather than your body. This can cause bad habits forming in your neck, shoulder, and back, including an arched back, an extended neck and rounded shoulders. Try to square out your shoulders so that they are at a ~90 degree angle relation to your trapezius, the muscle that connects your shoulder to your neck, found on the posterior side of the neck. Having a good, structured posture can also increase your aesthetics and social image. Being more physically confident with your posture can increase your social potency. People naturally approach individuals who are well composed, and they tend to avoid individuals who lack confident and bold posture. So, these habits can help you out as a person too!

 

Posturing and positioning your hand properly is another important part to keeping a healthy posture within your body. Disposing your fingers or hands incorrectly on your mouse or keyboard can cause strains on your fingers. Even though stretching helps reduce strain on your flexor tendons and muscles, the best way to deal with strains is to never form them. Keeping your finger in an inflexed position can heavily increase strain in your hands and wrists. To avoid this strain, more or less rest your hand on mouse as opposed to gripping it. Flexing your fingers onto the mouse buttons or keys does not increase precision, reaction time, or any other aspect you can think of.  An example of inflexed fingers would be positioning your finger in an arc over the mouse buttons so that you are pushing them instead of subtly pressing them. Simply resting your hand/fingers on your keyboard and mouse provides a more confortable experience and will severely help you in the long run.

An important question that comes up when talking about the topic of ergonomics is the question of gaming tools. Will using a special gaming keyboard, mouse, and chair help my posture while playing? As many would say that having the best equipment drastically improves posture and performance, I would not completely agree on a generalized level. Having excellent gaming equipment may “increase” performance and posture, but many times it is negligible. If you are worried about this question, then you should know that you are not in danger if you do not have the tier one gear that many players worship today. You should not have bad equipment, but rather ok equipment. Even though I suggest buying more expensive equipment if you want conformability of use and a more aesthetic experience while gaming, having a lower end mouse, or chair will not affect you unless it has ergonomic flaws. These apply more to mice then keyboards or chairs. With a mouse, you should make sure that it is not oddly shaped in a way that makes your hand hurt. Your mouse should also be big enough to fit your hand; small mice promote inflexed finger positions. On the topic of headphones, make sure your pair of headphone or your headset is the correct size for your head so that it does not pressure your ears in any way. Also make sure the design and cuffs of your headphones do not put too much strain on your ears. You can easily tell this by pains in the ears after a session of gaming. This may also be problematic for players who wear eyeglasses. In that case, either find a pair of headphones that do not hurt your ears or find a method that does not hurt your ears while wearing glasses. A good solution is lifting your glasses from your ears, and having them sit on top of the ear cuff of your headphones once and a while throughout your session. It may look weird, but it sure beats having sore ears after an extended duration of playing.

 

Breaks

Breaks are arguably the most important aspect of physical habits. During a gaming session, taking a break can quickly refresh your body and brain, preparing it for a continuation of focus. Try to take 5to 8 minute breaks in-between games. In these breaks, stretch out your whole body, prioritizing hands and wrists while also making sure your other body parts are getting some movement too. While breaking, go grab a drink and maybe a small snack if you need, these can help even if just a little. It is almost scary to see how effective and important breaks are too staying productive. They optimize your stamina and help keep your mind focused and productive after long periods of times. If looking for a quick start on gaining habits outside of game, breaks are the place to start.

 

Conclusion

Many physical habits can change feeling and preparation for optimal performance in-game. Although stretching and ergonomic habits will not get you any more LP, it is all important for maintaining lasting fidelity throughout your body. League of Legends is primarily a mental game, with minimal physical requirements, but this does not mean that it cannot degrade your body physically. This brings importance with producing healthy physical habits.

It seems strange that forming physical habits can help you with tasks so encompassed mentally such as video games, but energy is energy. You get energy from many sources such as sleep and food, but it can be expended in many ways. Physical and mental expenditures of this energy are not all so different, for many say that the brain is a muscle as well. Stamina is an aspect of activity that allows us to be at optimal states for longer periods of time depending on the length of someone’s stamina. Stamina is used in both physical and mental actions yet can be categorized differently. Physically training your body to have more stamina can also increase mental stamina as well. You will be able to endure through longer sessions of play without getting fatigued, and have a more productive time during these sessions as well.

There is a strong suggestion that I would like to make to most players out there who seek physical wellbeing. Your doctor is an amazing resource for this kind of stuff; you shouldn’t neglect their knowledge! You should ask your doctor about tips and tricks for staying healthy while using a computer. Now many of you may be afraid to ask your doctor because some may be more biased against gaming than others, but you don’t even have to tell them that you play video games for maybe 6 to 8 hours a day. You can simply tell them that you use computers a lot, or your work requires many hours of computer use. Most doctors would not be opposed to giving you information on how to keep your body healthy and safe.

 

Dietary

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Intro

Knowing what to eat and when to eat it is a very important part of staying healthy and feeling good. Many foods can make you feel bloated or overall poor. This section will talk mostly the basics of maintaining your diet for optimal feeling that will make your feel satisfied no matter the timing. Eating the right foods may not make you gain a division, but rather, it will make you feel prepared to learn and play to your potential.

 

What to eat

There have possibly been times where you have eaten too much of one food, and it will probably make you feel different in a negative way. Balancing your diet is very important to make sure that you feel good and feel ready to perform. Lack of balance in a diet can inhibit learning and can make you feel lazy, unprepared to learn what is being taught in every game of League of Legends.

I won’t be too strict on what you eat, because the difference between Au Gratin potatoes and peas along with your dinner meal is negligible. This section I believe will be similar to the section about gaming equipment. You do not need the most balanced, nutritious diet to increase your performance, but you should have a diet that is good. Mostly, you should be avoiding a diet that is bad rather than aiming to have a great diet. In this case, it is primarily common sense that constructs your diet. Most people do not need to change their food choice in any way but some may. You want to stay away from eating a bag of chips a day or drinking soda 70 percent of the time you are drinking anything. My advice is that you should try to stay natural. This is a topic that everyone has probably heard some place or another. Now this will change depending on what you like to eat and your personal feelings about food. I will not tell you to drink tea, but I highly recommend it. If you absolutely hate tea, then nothing is stopping you from completely avoiding it.

I will start with food because it seems to be the most easily controlled section of someone’s diet. As you may have learned around school or other places, it is optimal to balance what you eat. The key word is balance because if you consume too much of one food then you will feel sub-optimal, even if you eat the a normal share of the rest of your foods. It isn’t hard to plan what you want to eat and how to manage a balanced diet, but it is harder to be cognizant of it. It is very important to be aware of what you are eating and if you have eaten enough of one food in the day. A good habit to start is to plan out what you will eat throughout the day. This may seem like something an overly conscious person does to watch their weight because they believe they are overweight, but it is not a terrible idea no matter who you are, or what you eat. If your meals are put on paper, or on a chart, then it can be easier to sort out what you eat daily. Now I am not saying that making a daily food planner will make you Challenger, but I can say that having balanced diet will make you feel more productive and focused while playing League of Legends or doing any other activity.

Drinks are up next, and are probably the most impactful consumption on the player. The topic of drinks is as much common sense as food is, but it is much more overlooked. First, I’ll start with drinks that people occasionally drink in the morning. Now, many of you may wake up to the ever so revered cup of coffee, but this isn’t particularly good for you. Coffee can cause many problems in your body such as increased stress levels, heightened risk of diabetes, and digestion problems. Outside of physical problems, coffee is also really expensive! Alcoholic drinks are also something to avoid indefinitely, there is next to no benefit of being under the influence of any drug while playing League of Legends. Now you’re wondering, no coffee, no alcohol, if I can’t drink any of that, then what do I drink? I am going to repeat myself on this, but you do not necessarily be consuming the drink of the gods to have an optimized performance, you just have to not drink the bad stuff which I have mostly covered before.

Here are some “hack” foods that are really convenient for gaming and also promote your health. If you are looking for a small snack too steal away some of your queue times then try some yogurt! Yogurt contains bacteria that helps regulate your digestion which is always helpful to your diet, not to mention yogurt tastes great and comes in many flavors and brands. Note that eating too much yogurt can overload you on dairy foods, so don’t eat too much yogurt or else you’ll blow up! On the drinks side of things, try out a cup of tea in the morning or in between games. Tea comes in so many flavors and brews, but with endless flavors comes almost endless remedies. Though tea can be very expensive, it is also very healthy. Tea is known for its somewhat healing ability and it’s very natural flavor. Tea will also make you feel awake, satisfied, and ready to focus on the game.

 

When to Eat

The timings of which you eat, relative to the rest of the activities in your day, is also an important area to talk about. In this section, I will not tell you how to set out your meals in the day, which is completely up to you. But I do recommend these times of eating compared to the rest of your day, regardless of the time at which these meals are.

No matter the timings of your meals, or whenever you decide to eat, you should keep this schedule very consistent. Try not to skip out on any meals, or even neglect a well needed snack in-between games. Though I do suggest, if you wish to eat in the middle of a session, finish what you are currently tasked with and then eat while ending your session there. This now brings up and additional question. Should you eat before or after a session of gaming? I believe the difference is negligible but I would say it depends more on your preference. According to a study done almost a year ago at Utrecht University in The Netherlands, it was shown that participants had a better time with complex decision making while they were hungry and opposed to when their stomachs were sated. But if you also eat before a session of gaming, the direct satisfaction you get from eating may put you in a good, satisfied mood to play. Though, I would recommend eating after your session because it gives you time to cool down after a rigorous session of play.

Eating after a session is very beneficial because you can tackle some other tasks while eating that can help you mentally. One suggestion while eating is to sit down with a meal and review a replay of a game you have played in that session. It is always good to review and critique your gameplay after you have calmed down, and also the state of eating calms down the mind. If you feel that you are tilted from your session of gameplay and you do not want to reflect on your mistakes at the moment, then feel inclined to eat in an environment separate from your gaming space. If you can, grab a friend or family member to eat with so that you can get your mind off of the session you had just played. Don’t be afraid to go out to eat either, removing yourself from the environment as much as you can, will prove to be beneficial.

 

Drugs

Even though drugs are not necessarily a part of your diet, you do consume them and they also affect your gameplay, so they are something I want to touch on. Most drugs negatively impact your brain function in areas of focus, concentration, and decision making. Most of these drugs have been branded illegal in The United States including cocaine, ecstasy, and LSD. Some over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can also negatively impact brain functions including opiates such as Vicodin or Demerol. Usually, only moderate to high doses of OTC drugs directly affect brain function and performance. If you are worried about your prescribed drugs affecting gameplay, then I would recommend comparing inhibition of playing League of Legends to your ability of driving a car or motor vehicle. If you can operate a motor vehicle after taking your prescribed drugs, then you should be able to play League of Legends at an optimal state of self-influence. If you do not find solace with that, then don’t be afraid to consult your doctor about your prescribed drugs affecting your brain functions.

 

Conclusion

Dietary habits are less impactful on your gameplay, compared to the perks to living quality. Having a steady and balanced diet will make you feel good all around. Many people feel a reduced quality after consuming foods like coffee without realizing the consequences of what they eat or drink. I try not to go into much detail with diets for the sole reason that I believe diets are up to the players and what they specifically eat is their consent.

 

Total Conclusion

Both physical and dietary habits can clearly optimize your performance and focus while playing League of Legends. While being able to optimize performance, I feel these habits also optimize learning. These habits will not directly gain you LP, or even make you a better player, but they can help you perform at your peak. Following these habits can make you feel prepared to improve at the game and to function to your pinnacle.

 

 

 

 

 

 Sources

 http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111081

 http://andrewvs.blogs.com/files/stretching-to-prevent-injury.pdf

http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/brainchange/

http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/ucm079514.htm

 

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