This is my response to the article Improving Gameplay Outside of the Game, Physically and Dietarily by Uberejho.
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.
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.
Now here’s where it gets a little iffy. Exercise is all about introducing a level of stress onto your body, and your body adapts to the level of demand that is placed on it, creating specific adaptations to imposed demands (SAID principle). Whether you work out before or after games, there will be that level of stress. There are times when you’re so stressed out from the day (perhaps your family back home is going through troubles, your long distance relationship is having hiccups, and your team just fell flat in scrims), that the added stress of working out would be an overall negative experience than if you were to do nothing.
That it “may give you a good finisher to your work… doing the opposite of exercising before your session,” is not exactly accurate, however there are benefits to exercise as I’ve talked about in previous articles.
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.
This is wrong. If we’re talking about stretching in the context of before working out, the answer is still no. Unless you have a severe deficit of ROM that is preventing you from normal movements in your workout, you should not stretch.
However, the person who wrote the article has company, in that many coaches hold the same view.
However, it’s not being backed up by the science out there. Why is that? Well, stretching reduces speed, power, and force production. Think of your connective tissue and such as a rubber band. If you stretch out that rubber band it’s not going to have that same pliability and snap as it did before.
So what should you do? Get a good dynamic warmup in before doing any workout.
This means getting your heart rate up, increasing blood flow to your muscles that you’ll be using.
If you do have a ROM deficit, this would then be the time to stretch, after warming up, hold for about 30 seconds and don’t go to the point of pain. It may be uncomfortable but it should NOT be painful.
Now in terms of being on the computer for a long time, you should get up and move around after every game, get the blood flowing in your lower extremities, take a few minutes between games to reflect on what you did well, what you didn’t do well, what you need to work and improve on. Then you re-focus and get to the next game.
If you have poor posture, this can be addressed with workouts but this is where stretching would play a beneficial role, as if you’re tight in one area (chest), you’re going to be loose in the other area (your back). Strengthening your scapular, middle/lower traps and stretching out your chest can help pull your head from that forward tilt you see gamers have when their posture goes after sitting in a chair for a long period of time.
Moving on to carpal tunnel, firstly, if you think something is wrong, schedule an appointment with a doctor if possible.
What is carpal tunnel? Carpal tunnel involves compression of the median nerve in the wrist. The median nerve is one of the nerves which innervates the hand. It passes through the wrist in a narrow area called the carpal tunnel, along with the flexor digitorum superficialis and flexor pollicis longus tendons.
This compression leads to the following signs and symptoms:
Numbness or pain in your hand, forearm, or wrist that awakens you at night. (Shaking or moving your fingers may ease this numbness and pain.)
Occasional tingling, numbness, “pins-and-needles” sensation, or pain. The feeling is similar to your hand “falling asleep.”
Numbness or pain that gets worse while you are using your hand or wrist, especially when gripping an object with your hand or bending (flexing) your wrist.
Occasional aching pain in your forearm between your elbow and wrist.
Stiffness in your fingers when you get up in the morning.
There are also some tests you can do to try and re-create the symptoms. If these are positive, it’s very well possible you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are things to keep in mind for you, the average gamer (or even for you professionals).
It’s important to take breaks between your gaming sessions. Seems obvious but not enough people do it, or they will once they start feeling the symptoms. It should be before that point. So if you usually start feeling symptoms after two hours of gaming, then take a break every hour. Some might need ten minutes, some might need twenty or even thirty minutes. See what works best for you.
It’s important to eat right and stay hydrated. If you eat processed foods – solely, it’s all you eat – that creates a sort of full-body inflammation, making it that much easier for your tendons and nerves to get inflamed in the carpal tunnel.
Stretching is important as well (AS LONG AS IT DOESN’T HURT! If it hurts [because of your possible Carpal Tunnel Syndrome], then wait however many days before you can do this pain free) because the muscles are shortened and inflamed, the goal here is to relax them and get them back to their normal position.
Carpal tunnel stretches and exercises has some good exercises for you to do. Note again, these should be done pain free. Has stretches towards the end.
Carpal tunnel stretches has some great information on stretches that you can do for Carpal Tunnel.
You can also try to wear a wrist splint at night if you’re experiencing these symptoms. Wrist splints are generally available OTC (over-the-counter) at most drugstores or pharmacies. The splint should be snug but not tight.
Look at how your keyboard and mouse are set up. One way to help avoid carpal tunnel is to avoid bending your wrist all the way up or down. A relaxed middle position is best. Try to keep your mouse at elbow-height.
Posture is huge. When your shoulders are in a poor position, as described above, your neck and shoulder muscles are shortened, compressing nerves in your neck. This then can affect your wrist and hands.
Keep your hands warm. You’re more likely to develop hand pain and stiffness if you work in a cold environment. If it needs to be relatively cool (if you’re in a pro house and there’s a ton of computers going), go outside for a 5-10 minute run. If that’s not possible, run in place inside, do jumping jacks, or take a 10 minute hot shower before you play. You can also try wearing fingerless gloves if you have problems keeping your hands warm.
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.
Eating the right foods may help you gain a division, and here’s why. It’s important to eat right and stay hydrated. If you eat processed foods – solely, it’s all you eat – that creates a sort of full-body inflammation, making it that much easier for your tendons and nerves to get inflamed in the carpal tunnel.
When you eat food that are high in sugar, you get spikes in your blood glucose. When that crashes is when you tend to get hungry, your blood sugar is getting low, you start losing focus. Ever try to play League of Legends when you’re not focused?
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.
There is next to no benefit of being under the influence of any drug while playing League of Legends is incorrect.
Caffeine is a drug and it can increase alertness as well as help you focus during a game. However, it also has its drawbacks, so what may work for one may not work for you.
Overall, I applaud what he tried to do with his guide, it generally had good information, but there were some spots that were weak that I wanted to address on my own, so that there wasn’t misinformation on the topic as League of Legends continues to grow further in terms of what players should be doing to improve their game play outside of the actual game.