Health Tips: Are video games becoming your new social life?

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Why were Miami Heat forward Meyers Leonard, the Trail Blazers’ forward Mario Hezonja, and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Larry Nance Jr. hanging out together one day in early April? They were playing in a “Call of Duty: Warzone” video game tournament. Makes sense. Their real games were suspended, and they longed for a good contest. But for some it can become more than a temporary, welcome relief. “I am happy for ‘Warzone,’” Hezonja told the Washington Post. “I would say I’m addicted.”

According to a six-year study out of Brigham Young University that was published in Developmental Psychology, for 10 percent of players, video gaming becomes a problem that interferes with day-to-day life. Players who become addicted may find that constant interaction with the games triggers or increases their problems with depression, aggression, shyness and anxiety. 

Signs of addiction include:

-- Excessive time spent playing games and hyped-up anticipation of future contests. 

-- Withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, irritability, sadness and boredom when unable to play.

-- Need for increased doses of games that are ever-more complex and time consuming. 

-- Risking friendships and family relationships or jobs because of obsessive playing. 

If that’s you, start tracking your playing by writing down the time you spend, then try to reduce time spent by 10% a week. Consider online or in-person cognitive behavioral therapy for help. And get outside and play a socially distanced game of tennis, take a bike ride or walk. If you’re under age 50, COVID-19 is less likely to harm you than a video addiction will. 

Coffee may help you lose weight

Aussie Matthew Dellavedova, the Cleveland Cavaliers point and shooting guard, is a trim 200 pounds at 6 feet, 4 inches tall. He’s also a major coffee fan and had his own line of coffee, “G’Day Mate” from the Cleveland Coffee Company, a few years back. That may be one reason he’s in such good shape.

Researchers looked at data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They found that men, ages 20 to 44, who drink two to three cups of joe a day have 1.3% less total fat and 1.8% less trunk fat than those who don’t consume coffee. And women benefited even more. 

The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, says women 30 to 44 who drink two to three cups daily have 3.4% less body fat than female noncoffee drinkers. And those who are 45 to 69 years old and drink four or more cups daily have 4.1% less.

If weight is your main concern, limit intake to six cups. More than that, say researchers from University of South Australia’s Australian Centre for Precision Health can up your risk for obesity! However, folks who don’t get the jitters or a sour stomach from caffeine can benefit from drinking more, because that helps lower your risk of brain dysfunction, fatty liver disease, Parkinson’s disease and more than eight cancers. 

Tip: You’ll also pack on pounds if you favor coffee drinks with saturated-fat-loaded dairy and sugar bombs. Opt for black filtered coffee and no sugar. Then enjoy! 

 

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