Doctor: Athletes Should Avoid Games Before Competition
You might be surprised at how many professional athletes play games, but one doctor says it's better to abstain before competition.
As reported by GamePolitics citing the blog of Dr. Marco Cardinale, a PhD and head of the British Olympic Association's Sports, Science and Research division, playing games before a big match may be a bad idea. Thanks to the marvel of portable technology, athletes can take many video games with them on the road, which of course results in more game-playing during the season. And while this can keep the athletes away from trouble in the bars and clubs, Dr. Cardinale believes that exposure to such electronics can have a negative impact on the athlete's sleep patterns. After examining the physiological effect of games, he came upon several conclusions, including the fact that children who played 1 hour of Need for Speed: Most Wanted exhibited impaired sleep patterns and a reduction in verbal cognitive performance. His advice? If you're traveling (especially across time zones), put away the laptop, DVD player, iPod or any video games and just go to sleep. And if you're an athlete, avoid it all the night before a competition.
He also raises an interesting theory in terms of stress and how virtual competition can impact us: he says that recovery time for athletes is designed for rest and peace. So, "you don't want to play Street Fighter with your best mate and have your blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels go sky-high because you lose!" That's interesting and it does make a bit of sense. Athletes go all out and getting all competitive with a game can't be the best thing for rest and recovery. As for the impaired sleep patterns, I'm just not sure about that. Perhaps it's more true for those who aren't used to playing games a lot...?
12/24/2009 10:16:57 AM Ben Dutka