Gaming addiction by nature often leads to the sufferers spending all of their time inside leading very sedentary lifestyles. As part of most video game addiction treatments, it’s recommended that addicted gamers find healthy alternative activities to occupy their time. The benefits of going outdoors and being active go far beyond simply getting fit. Studies have shown that there are significant improvements in mental health when exercise is performed in an outdoor environment.
Our interactions with nature are changing and becoming a lot more distant, especially after the effects of the pandemic. Thus, here are some great outdoor activity ideas to get us out of the house and break our video game addiction!
Bicycle prices went through the roof during the pandemic as it became an extremely popular way to get out of the house, and for good reason. Going for a bike ride is the perfect combination of enjoying the outdoors and exercising. If you want to take things slow and have a leisurely ride down a nature trail, you can! Alternatively, if you see yourself as quite the speed demon and want to get an intense workout in then by all means go ahead.
The diversity in how we can use cycling is why it’s so great for gamers looking to get over their addiction. People who are drawn to the competitive side of gaming can substitute this with competitive cycling. And for those gamers that have been neglecting their health cycling is an amazing way to get into shape. There’s a reason why there are so many exercise bikes at the gym.
So if you’re unsure of an activity to get started with try cycling. Don’t worry, it’s just like riding a bike!
Outdoor yoga coincides really well with mindfulness, one of the main methods of treating and curbing addictive thoughts. Obviously, yoga is something that can be carried out in your living room. However, outdoor yoga helps to cultivate mental focus. The outdoors is full of distracting sounds: people, birds, the wind, you name it. You can’t control the sounds, smells, and feelings of the outdoors; which means you’ll have to work extra hard to reach the meditative flow-like state you’re trying to achieve during mindfulness meditation. When doing yoga in a park you will have to work to minimize distractions and concentrate on maintaining the poses, strengthening your physical and mental muscles.
Similarly, mindfulness for video game addiction requires the individual to focus on the present moment despite whatever distracting negative or addictive thoughts they might be having. Picking up a hobby that contributes so well to the battle with their addiction is a great opportunity.
Engaging in team sports can sometimes be the medicine that an addicted gamer needs. When we think about it, so many video games these days are team orientated and many gamers often play with their friends. Hence a real-life team game outside can help to satisfy that social stimulation that gaming once used to.
Consider organizing a game of soccer in the park with some friends. Or if you haven’t got the numbers or want a more competitive experience then there are plenty of local 5-a-side teams to become a part of. If soccer isn’t your thing then explore some alternative options like hockey, basketball or even some doubles tennis.
We always laugh at the cliche of kumbaya around the campfire but camping might have more health benefits than you’re aware of. Playing video games and sleep problems have been interlinked for a while now. The act of gaming exposes individuals to blue light which delays our body’s natural sleep hormones; not to mention all of the adrenaline and caffeinated drinks that come along with being a gamer.
Sleeping out in the great outdoors has been shown to improve sleep quality due to the removal of ambient light and hence blue light exposure; as well as the constant hustle and bustle of city sounds. Secondly, more individuals in today’s generation are vitamin D deficient than ever before. You can bet that the average gaming addict who spends most of their time indoors doesn’t get enough sunlight.
Getting adequate vitamin D is essential to combat some of the negative effects of video game addiction like poor mood and low energy as well as many other health benefits.
Finally, camping is a great opportunity to spend some quality time with friends and family. Gaming can make for a great bonding experience but removing all distractions with nothing left to do but conversate and entertain each other, helps to build deeper connections with people. So, give it a try.
Last but not least on our list is running. The number one hobby that is picked up by recovering addicts is running. Running for a lengthy period of time exposes the individual to a transient euphoric experience known as “runner’s high”. Scientists speculate that it is due to the release of endorphins and other chemicals into our blood while we exercise. These serve as a natural pain reliever and have also been shown to reduce feelings of worry and anxiety.
Recovering from addiction comes with a great deal of anxiety hence running can be a healthy natural remedy for the way that addicts might be feeling. New research has shown that running might also help to undo some of the unhealthy changes that the brain has undergone. Many people falsely speculate that addiction is simply a lack of willpower. Rather, addiction is more of a neurological disorder based in the brain’s chemistry.
Without diving into too much of a boring science lesson it’s important to know that willpower does have a role to play in addiction; but there are chemical changes at work that create these debilitating cravings and symptoms. Gaming addiction is largely due to an overexposure of dopamine where the receptors in our brain develop a tolerance. Because of this tolerance gamers need more video games to satisfy that dopamine craving they have developed and so on. Experts claim that running may help to rebalance the levels of dopamine and the desensitization of our neurotransmitters.
So, if video game addiction has been holding you back then lace up those running shoes and hit the road!
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