Poker provides entertainment, money, and a way to meet new friends to the people who play it. However, one thing that poker doesn’t provide players with is the means for staying in shape. Let’s face it; poker is a very sedentary activity where people sit around for long periods of time without burning many calories. In addition, poker playing can be a very high stress game that requires intense concentration and the ability to make decisions fast.
Here are Health Fitness Revolution‘s Health Tips for Poker Players:
- Get Plenty of Sleep: Oftentimes, professional poker players will play for 10-12 hours non-stop in high concentration, high stress situations. Simply the fact that there’s money on the line is stressful in itself! For these reasons, poker players needs at least 8 hours of restful sleep a night, to rest their minds and their bodies. Lack of sleep can hinder you from thinking clearly and keeping your emotions at an even keel. Studies show that excessive sleepiness can hurt work performance, wreak havoc on relationships, and lead to mood problems like anger and depression.
- Recognize that Health is Important to Mastering Poker: One big reason you won’t find a whole lot of players in the gym is because they don’t think good health has anything to do with winning. After all, you’re not going to be penalized in a tournaments for having a gut. But the truth is that poor health can affect a person’s game when you really think about it. For example, many of the bigger poker tournaments last for days and those who are out of shape may tire quickly and lose focus during the later parts. On the other hand, a person with good health will be alert and ready at all stages of a tourney.
- Exercise Regularly: players need to make time for physical activity (i.e. getting their heart rates over 120 bpm) for at least 45 minutes a day, four to five days a week. With this increase in physical exercise, they will see significant improvements in their physique, stamina, alertness and ability to focus, stress levels, and sleep patterns. All of these improvements will help their game.
- Eat Brain Foods: We wrote an article about the Best Foods for Focus. A healthy diet is something that poker players should be interested in for more reasons than just winning at poker. Because they are often on the road, and have access to a lot of fast foods, they need to make sure to make healthy choices and have healthy snacks at hand. They should make sure to have complete meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner with scheduled light snacks in the times between to refuel your batteries. They should be snacking every couple hours to keep energy levels and focus up. Also, eat foods with Omega 3 fats which help insulate the brain and therefore aid in the thinking process.
- Rest the Eyes: Poker players should avoid eye fatigue by resting and refocusing your eyes periodically by looking away from the cards and focus on something in the distance. Rest eyes by covering them with your palms for 10-15 seconds.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated not only keeps your body functioning optimally, it keeps you awake and alert! If poker players needs an extra energy boost, they should stay clear of energy drinks and have coffee or teainstead- it’s better for stress on the heart. Players should also stay clear of sodas and fruit juices because drinks high in sugar content make blood sugar rise and then suddenly drop. Once blood sugar drops, cognitive abilities are impaired which will affect poker playing skills.