People who do this frowned upon activity may actually be healthier than you

If you weren’t into video games before quarantine, you’ve likely picked the hobby up in the many long-boring hours between days.

People are much more forgiving of the binge-gamer archetype than they used to be. Thanks in large part to the wide variety of genres currently available to consumers.

Not only is it possible to maintain a healthy weight while being an active gamer, but fans of Esport video games tend to be in much better shape than the general public–at least according to a new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

On balance, the Esports players featured in the analysis were more likely to be categorized as normal weight, as non-smokers, and as non-drinkers. Strangely the same demographic followed health guidelines less often than the general global population.

“We investigated the association between obesity, self-reported physical activity, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and perceived health in esports players, and the influence of player in-game rank. Data was collected with an online survey with an international participant sample of esports players representing five esports and all skill levels,” the authors wrote in the new report.  

“Esports players ranked in the top 10% were more physically active compared to the remaining esports players. As esports player in-game rank increased, so did the amount of time spent playing esports. Although esports players appear generally healthy, a small group was significantly obese and most esports players did not meet physical activity guidelines, indicating potential future health risks.”

A total of 1,400 gamers were assessed from 65 different countries. The Esports gamers were determined to be between 9% and 21% more likely to enjoy a healthy body weight compared to the rest of the study sample. The more active the Esports player, the better the physical health markers.

The top Esports players were 7.8% less likely to regularly consume alcohol. Only 0.5% of the players who do drink do so every day. Moreover, roughly 3.7% of Esports players smoke every day.

“The findings challenge the stereotype of the morbidly obese gamer,” QUT esports researcher Michael Trotter explained in a university release. “When you think of esports, there are often concerns raised regarding sedentary behavior and poor health as a result, and the study revealed some interesting and mixed results. As part of their training regime, elite esports athletes spend more than an hour per day engaging in physical exercise as a strategy to enhance gameplay and manage stress.”

“Grassroots esports pathways, such as growing university and high school esports, are likely to be the best place for young esports players to develop good health habits for gamers,”