Healthy Habits Around the Game Table

During a recent listen to the Dice Tower Podcast, Mandi Hutchinson shared some health problems that she’s been going through recently with her co-host Suzanne. It was so good to hear two influencers in our hobby share the need for us take our health seriously. A similar topic was discussed just days before around our own game table while playing with friends.

All this begs the question, what are some healthy habits that we can have around the game table? This list won’t be comprehensive so we need you all to share your healthy habits in the comments at the bottom of this post. So let’s get started!

Water, Water, Water

Hydration doesn’t seem like a big deal until it becomes a problem. As a parent of a kid who was hospitalized for being dehydrated when she was younger, this is something I pay attention to.

After attending conventions over the past couple years, it’s very evident that we can forget to hydrate when we are focused on gaming. Whether you are at a game convention or just playing a couple games with friends on the weekend, don’t forget to drink water.

Hydration isn’t just for athletes or when you’re working outside. When you’re hydrated, you are more alert and have better concentration. Dehydration has a significant effect on how your brain works. Plus there are huge health benefits to just sticking with water.

While I love soda, coffee and tea, those are all drinks that can effect our energy level. I definitely don’t need to come off a sugar high in the final rounds of a game.

Time to Take a Stand

I remember the first time my smart watch told me tha I needed to stand up because I was sitting too long.

“How dare you! What gives you the right to judge me?”

Apparently this was a setting that I had control over. Whoops! But seriously, our electronic devices can really help us form better habits. Sitting for long periods of time is really terrible for our health.

While I love a good brain burning game that takes 3 hours to play, I know this isn’t great for my body. Talk to the people at the table and schedule a break during a long game. If your game night consists of a couple shorter games, walk around the house or stretch when transitioning from one game to another.

Maybe even choose a game that gets people standing naturally. A game like Formula D gets so tense that we always end up standing around the table the last half of the race. Ice Cool, Flick ’em Up or FlipShips are all games that force you out of your seat. If you have access to a high top table during a game night, consider playing a game on that surface for a bit.

Our hobby is a very sedentary one. Take time to get out of your seat and move around for better health.

Making Better Snack Choices

Everyone with a game collection knows that things like soup, cheese dip and Cheetos are a “no go” on game night. We are trying to keep these games in great condition after all! Sometimes we forget that we should also focus on what our snack options can do to our bodies more than our games.

When hosting a game night, consider grabbing healthier food options for your guests. Trade out the chips for trail mix and grab some carrots or snow peas for a more natural option. Bringing some fruit like bananas, apples and grapes are better for your body than the pie and donuts that may be a convenient pick up.

Most of the time, we keep the snacks in the kitchen for in-between games. Vegetables, pita bread and a variety of hummus is usually well received. We’ve found ourselves popping popcorn on the stove and using olive oil and spices instead of using the microwave bags over the past year.

This change in what you serve or bring to game night can be a huge win for your health and how you feel as you sit around the table.

Taking a Day Off

Our family loves gaming! Yes we have teenagers now which means one minute they love playing games and the next they disavow the existence of our extensive game collection. We are the family that has a bag of games in our car when we go to parties and usually have people asking us about the next game night. Even though a chunk of our life revolves around games, we’ve been more intentional to diversify our family activities.

During the first part of this year we took some time to go hike and explore a different city a couple hours away with the kids. Just recently we threw together an Ultimate Frisbee game with some friends in the community. We’re working on balancing the time we spend gaming with activities that get our family moving this year.

Find something active that you enjoy. It doesn’t always have to be a sport or exercise related. Making time for a walk after work or taking a hike to take some nice photographs is helpful to get moving. If you have a desk job like I do, this is something you should do to balance out all the time you spend sitting.

I’ve been grateful to have co-workers that enjoy gaming during lunch and also take a 15 minute walk to break up the workday.

Who Needs Sleep?

I am a night owl. Around 11 pm, I get incredibly creative and my mind cannot shut off. My wife has been trying for 17 years to get me to fall asleep around 10:30 pm. I will admit, the times I got a solid 8 to 9 hours of sleep have felt amazing.

As I get older I realize the incredible benefits of sleep. The game nights that last until 2 in the morning only happen at conventions now. Sleep is a huge part of how your body repairs itself. Those late night gaming sessions can take a toll on our mind and keep our body from some pretty necessary functions.

Get a good night sleep, yes, even on the weekend. This is something I still struggle to balance in my life.

So what are your health tips that you would share in our hobby? Share your ideas in the comments below.

Ryan Gutowski

I'm a huge fan of strategy games and pretty much anything that involves "city building". My love of board games goes back to my childhood and passion for building relationships with others.

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