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Pro PC Gamers Have Elderly Chain-Smoker Bodies

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 65 comments
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A recent study tried to determine if PC gaming could actually be classified as a sport.

A recent study has indicated that professional PC gamers--or rather l33t cyber-athletes who rack in the big bucks--have the reactions of fighter pilots but the bodies of 60-year-old chain smokers. Using a series of physical and psychological tests, the study was conducted to determine if PC gaming could actually be defined as a sport.

Dr. Dominic Micklewright, the University of Essex's head of Sport, Performance, and Fatigue Research Unit, compared cyber-athletes to real-world athletes in various tests. The results showed that the gamers has the mental sharpness and psychological traits comparable to physical athletes, however their fitness levels were "shockingly low."

Case in point: one unnamed professional gamer was in his twenties, and in appearance alone seemed slim and healthy with a physique similar to an endurance athlete. But when the champion gamer was put through physical tests, he wasn't quite as healthy as he appeared, revealing lung functions and aerobic fitness comparable to a chain-smoker in his sixties.

Ouch.

Naturally, Dr. Micklewright blames the amount of time sitting in front of the PC as the culprit behind the gamer's overall health. "Someone of this age should be much fitter, but perhaps this is the occupational hazard of the professional gamer who can spend around 10 hours a day in front of a screen," he said. "It is always difficult to say how these things will develop, but it could have long term health implications such as an increased risk of heart disease."

However despite the physical differences, the doctor was surprised to see that gamers actually shared many characteristics with athletes. These include reaction times, motor skills, competitiveness and emotions. With that said, is PC gaming classified as a sport?

"Gaming shares some characteristics with sport because both are competitive, skill-based and governed by structured rules," he explained. "But the main distinction which precludes gaming from being a sport is the lack of physical exertion. However, in the end sport is socially defined and there are sports, such as snooker and darts, which you might argue are on the boundary. Like video games these require very high levels of skill, but are relatively sedentary and not physically demanding."

Sounds like a borderline yes.

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  • 27 Hide
    vartok , June 8, 2010 9:06 PM
    So does this mean that schools will start forming Street Fighter teams?
  • 22 Hide
    Anonymous , June 8, 2010 9:05 PM
    in which case trolling and flaming should become a sports too
  • 21 Hide
    Trueno07 , June 8, 2010 9:00 PM
    I could never be a Pro gamer. I love to play games, just not for that long every day. It would get old FAST.
Other Comments
  • 21 Hide
    Trueno07 , June 8, 2010 9:00 PM
    I could never be a Pro gamer. I love to play games, just not for that long every day. It would get old FAST.
  • 16 Hide
    klavis , June 8, 2010 9:01 PM
    Whats with England and all the gamer related studies? They seem to have it out for the gamers in a bad way.
  • 22 Hide
    Anonymous , June 8, 2010 9:05 PM
    in which case trolling and flaming should become a sports too
  • 27 Hide
    vartok , June 8, 2010 9:06 PM
    So does this mean that schools will start forming Street Fighter teams?
  • 15 Hide
    Anomalyx , June 8, 2010 9:08 PM
    Is gaming a sport? Depends on your definition of "sport". If all it requires is to be competing against someone else, then heck, even sandwich-making can be a sport if you're trying to do it faster than someone else.

    Everyone will have their own definition of what a sport is. Mine excludes gaming, even though I do plenty of it. Then again, being a soccer player and having the view that sports require real physical effort, I don't even consider golf a sport (it's a game, but not a sport). Same with things like billiards (a favorite game of mine, but it isn't a sport). That's my view, and I'm sure everyone else will have their own.
  • 8 Hide
    klavis , June 8, 2010 9:08 PM
    jerreeceOccupational? Doesn't an occupation suggest you do it "for a living"? I.E. you earn a living? LOL


    The gamers in the study DO make a living off of playing games, so it is an occupation.
  • -4 Hide
    kingnoobe , June 8, 2010 9:11 PM
    Would I call gaming a sport um no. Then again I don't think darts and things of that nature should be considered sports either. TO me sports are a combination of both skill, and physical. If it severaly lacks one of those two compenants I don't consider it a sport.
  • 0 Hide
    razor512 , June 8, 2010 9:12 PM
    When something becomes a sport of a professional competition, it is no longer fun. I play games for fun not sport.

    The same goes for physical sports, once it becomes professional or competition, it is no longer fun, it is just work at this point.
  • 2 Hide
    bin1127 , June 8, 2010 9:16 PM
    snooker and darts are not sports. who even thought of that?
  • 5 Hide
    ckthecerealkiller , June 8, 2010 9:17 PM
    I would like to see a "normal" professional athlete take the mental exertion of a 14 hour tournament (when a high level of skill is required). I'm not saying NONE of them could do it but gaming is a mental battle not a physical battle. Many consider chess a sport but my heart rate and motor skills are much higher during a serious gaming session.
  • 5 Hide
    brendano257 , June 8, 2010 9:19 PM
    Sigh....you can call it a sport if you want, but I won't compare it to running in track or playing soccer(football), 'football,' or any other athletic sport. They should just stick with the title of E-Sports.

    As for the differences, being an athlete myself I would say that it takes more determination to work out, and really push yourself to improve in sports. Where as the only pain in 10 hours a day of games is the boredom factor.

    @nforce - It's funny you use the word "intellectual" and then group all athletes into the categories of muscle heads and steroid junkies. My schools track team is somewhere around 90 kids, and there are maaaybe about 3 or 4 kids I would call muscleheads. Don't take hard work and determination and call it excessiveness or drug use, it simply doesn't add up.
  • 0 Hide
    antilycus , June 8, 2010 9:21 PM
    bowling and poker players.... both are considered sports, enough said. Might as well call whistling a sport...or thumb wrestling.
  • 2 Hide
    tcsenter , June 8, 2010 9:28 PM
    soldier37My fitness level is just fine, ex military of 14 years and stay fit work out every day. Ive been PC gaming since the 1980s on the commodore Vic 20 thank you! Must be a slow news day Toms! Now back to some Battlefield BC2...
    And you're not a professional gamer (e.g. someone who competes in organized competitions for prize money), which is what the study was about (and clearly stated in the news article). Maybe try to improve your reading comprehension skills in between your work-outs and gaming sessions?
  • 8 Hide
    kyeana , June 8, 2010 9:28 PM
    So we have offically concluded that golfing is not a sport. Right on! :D 
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 8, 2010 9:29 PM
    I think the stress without physical exertion is detrimental to physiques. Under stress the body will do minimum where it can afford minimum leading to a deterioration in physical characteristics.
  • 2 Hide
    tolham , June 8, 2010 9:56 PM
    "perhaps this is the occupational hazard of the professional gamer who can spend around 10 hours a day in front of a screen"

    only 10? i would have guessed at least 16.
  • 3 Hide
    mancream , June 8, 2010 10:00 PM
    I'm 20, a gamer, smoke a lot of cigs n kush, and I'm healthy *cough cough*
  • 3 Hide
    captainnochords , June 8, 2010 10:12 PM
    It may be interesting to note that if professional gamers do increase their physical fitness, it may be beneficial to their other skills as well. Gaming is a very new sport, so optimum training regimens - physical or mental - are still developing with the sport. But for example, top level chess requires physical fitness - a major criticism of Vladimir Kramnik by his coaches was that he smoked and didn't exercise or eat well. He fixed those problems and went on to win the world championship. Perhaps there could be a parallel here?
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