May 042009
 

One of the best things about video games is the lack of commercial breaks to interrupt us when things are getting good. I’m kind of dreading the day when, just before a boss encounter, instead of a cutscene, we’ll be subjected to some sort of ad, even if it’s in the game environment. I have my doubts that they’d reach the heights (or depths) attained by the examples here.

However, that lack of brief, regularly-scheduled intermissions means that we’re kind of left to cast about and fend for ourselves when it comes to grabbing a piece of fruit, or glass of water, or the inevitable “BRB Bio” that extended chair time will eventually require.

Relax. I’m not going to tell you when to go to the bathroom. Some things ought not to require that level of guidance and micro-management. Also? Ew. No.

However, there are mini-interludes in a lot of our games that we can take advantage of in exactly the same way that commercial breaks can — opportunities to do a little something healthy, activity-wise. We’re not saying “Go run five miles” here (…okay, yeah, on Patch Tuesday, that is a viable option if you don’t have a day job), we’re just talking about grabbing a minute here or there to get the blood moving, maybe work on toning up something we want to focus on.

Waiting a few minutes for a mob or quest-giver to respawn? Taking a computer-controlled inter-continental flight? Downloading a patch? Ganked early in a boss fight? Get out of your chair and do something — pushups, situps, chin-ups, jumping jacks, whatever. Lots of stuff doesn’t require any equipment beyond some open space on the floor and the motivation to use it. You’ll be amazed at how often you can grab a little activity break in the course of a gaming session.

I made a deal with myself yesterday while doing some questing in World of Warcraft — every time I hopped a flapping conveyance between flight points, I’d do at least a dozen chin-ups or thirty pushups. In a couple hours’ worth of shenanigans, that really adds up — in small, manageable, and completely modest chunks, to quite a few reps.

Today? I just flew in from the coast, and, boy, are my arms tired.

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  5 Responses to “Better Bio Breaks”

  1. [...] as I averred to in my column on ShrinkGeek this morning, I made a deal with myself yesterday while doing some questing in <a [...]

  2. I think this is a great idea! Can anyone suggest some easier interim moves/exercises for those of us not quite up to chin-ups and push-ups? Maybe some basic yoga postures?

  3. Well, start easy – squats without any weight in your hands, for instance, or pushups from your knees (or even leaning against a wall). Standing up and marching in place quickly for 30-60 seconds (or for as long as you’re in the air)… pretty much anything can be a starting point.

    The various “Warrior” stances (especially I and II) might be a good option as well (plus, in keeping with the MMORPG mindset); other options could be “Horse” or “Plank,” since they’re relatively uncomplicated but still work on isometric body position holds, and get harder the longer you maintain them.

  4. If you find it difficult to do regular push-ups, try doing them at a slight decline by resting your feet on a couch while your palms are on the floor. That way, you’re only lifting part of your bodyweight. It’s a good way to work up to full-fledged pushups.

    On a related note, this post makes some awesome suggestions. I lost 40 pounds one summer by doing something similar. This was before MMOs, but I did much the same thing during commercials on TV. Fifteen pushups here or 20 crunches there can really add up if you do them during commercials or breaks in an MMO.

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