Artist: EG
Why Exercise is Important for DOTA Players

For gamers, exercise is often the last thing on our minds. In fact, studies have found that increased screen time, which includes video gaming, is often connected with decreased levels of physical activity. After all, why go through the daily grind, when we need to focus all our time on grinding on the battlefield instead?

However, you might want to reconsider this way of thinking. Today, we’ll be discussing the reasons why exercise is important for DOTA players everywhere, and how you can sneak it into your routine.

Increased game performance

Physical activity supercharges the mind, resulting in increased gaming performance. McGill University’s research supports this. They had a group of young League of Legends gamers go through a 15-minute bout of high-intensity cardio, rest for a day, and had them game the day after that. The result was increased accuracy and the number of eliminated targets. The authors of the study explain that exercise affects ‘attention and decision-making speed’—two crucial skills DOTA players need to master if they want to win.

Decreased risk of illnesses

Of course, one of the most common benefits of exercise is that it keeps your body healthy. This is especially important for gamers. The Health Nexus’ post on gaming injuries highlights a few pains and disorders common among us, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain. There’s even an illness called ‘Gamer’s Thumb’, which, as its name implies, is the overstraining of tendons in our thumbs. If you play DOTA with a controller, this could very well happen to you. A few minutes of working out should be enough to prevent most of these injuries.

Allows for better sleep

The average DOTA game lasts for 35-45 minutes. That’s how you long have to stare at a PC with total concentration. Multiply that by a few matches, and you’ve got yourself a formula for one of the major diseases that have plagued gamers for decades: insomnia. True enough, reports show that excessive screen time, combined with blue light, keeps one from falling asleep. Fortunately, physical activity can balance this out by tiring your body, promoting quality rest during the night.

When to get the exercise in

DOTA keeps us busy, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get any exercise in between games. In fact, you don’t even have to spend hours at a gym to enjoy the benefits of exercise, you can squeeze in a few sets during pauses. A Gala Bingo guide to making the most of your lunch break points out how you can easily squeeze in a workout in the middle of the day. And it doesn’t have to be a strenuous workout, as you can simply walk around the block. This can help you maintain a clear head, avoid the afternoon energy slump, and allow you to take a break from staring at the screen. If you don’t have the luxury of a lunch break, you can try exercising when you wake up or directly before going to bed. Working out in the morning can boost your brain activity for the entire day while exercising in the evening can improve the quality of your sleep.

More importantly, making a pause between games and clearing your mind can be the needed distraction to shake off any bitterness from a bad game. This will bring the best out of you in the next one, and will prevent a losing streak because of tilting.

Exercising has a lot of benefits for DOTA players, and you don’t need to exercise for that long either. As long as you’re consistent, you’re on the road to becoming a healthier and more competent gamer.

For more ways to be a better Dota player, check out our ‘60 Ways to Get Better at Dota 2’ guide.