Is Playing WoW Unhealthy?

Posted September 9th, 2011 by Miss Mediocre

I mentioned to my little brother that I had reactivated my WoW account again, and he said something along the lines of, “Oh, so you’re giving up this ‘healthy thing’ now then?”.  That got me thinking, I have been totally focused on just being healthy and happy this summer, which did have me away from the computer and games for the majority of my free time. I got lots of sunshine and have been exercising lots and eating healthy and I really haven’t felt this good since I was a teenager, but I’m not really convinced that has anything to do with me not playing WoW… Don’t get me wrong, I know WoW is where a lot of my issues got a bit out of hand. I was pretty addicted in the early days, and then eventually it got easier to just not hang out with friends IRL, but stay in and play WoW with people who were kind of my friends in game. WoW was never the cause of any problems, it was always just the way in which I chose not to deal. When I stopped playing this last time, it wasn’t because I had decided to be healthy and just couldn’t manage a healthy lifestyle that involved WoW or anything, it was just that I was bored with the game. It had nothing to do with me and what was going on, it was just that Firelands came out and it was the same thing as always and no one I knew played anymore so I called it quits. I’ve never been a very active Summer player anyway and it’s always been the time of year when I usually take one of my breaks, but as Fall approaches I always get itching to start a new character or just go grind out some quests when there’s nothing else going on.

Personally I do think it’s very possible to play WoW and be healthy. Many people manage full happy lives while WoWing, and those that don’t, well I think that has to do more with them than whatever game they are playing, that was always the case for me anyway! I may not even be able to get back into playing again, I’m only level 12 after a week (I used to be able to do that in like an hour, lol), but if I do start to enjoy it again and playing more often, I think it will be another good experiment! I use a website to track all my eating and exercise, so it will be pretty easy to spot if my daily calories start going up and my calories burned start going down as my WoW time increases, even though I don’t think that’s going to be the case!

What do you think? Is it possible to be healthy and a serious gamer? Does WoW specifically encourage people to be unhealthy? Let me know!

Thanks for Reading!
Miss Mediocre <3

11 Responses to “Is Playing WoW Unhealthy?”

  1. vivianalive

    For me, it’s just the opposite. The more I play, the gaunter I will be.
    I just forget to eat and drink while face melting during a heroic encounter.

  2. Jes

    I have tons of friends who play wow who still go to the gym every day. It’s all about moderation.

    I personally have a hard time with being healthy in general. I can’t just blame the video game. If fact, I’ve often thought that if I could get some sort of goal system that was displayed for me all the time, like the achievement trackers in wow, except for real life, that maybe I would actually work harder to achieve those goals. haha!

  3. Karot

    I think it’s entirely possible to be healthy and be a serious gamer. The key is moderation (whether it’s what you’re eating or what you’re gaming) and making smart choices. I could not be playing WoW (like the past several weeks), and still sleep too much, not exercise, or generally being lazy…or I can be playing and still manage to get regular sleep, meals, fresh air, etc.

    I don’t think it’s WoW specific at all. It can happen with any type of game, even non-MMOs. I remember staying up all hours of the night to train my Pokemon for the next gym challenge, or being so close to the Elite Four that I couldn’t sleep until I’d beaten them. You can lose sight of things if you get engrossed in a really good book, or get hooked on a new TV series. Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube…all have been known to entrap people for hours at a time.

    P.S. What website do you use to track your eating and exercising? I’ve been looking for something like that.

  4. Robert

    Of course you can play wow and stay healthy:
    Eat well, limit your playtime, move your body, let your eyes see the outside world for some time.

    But don’t fool yourself: playing wow is basically unhealthy. You don’t move a lot, you sit on your ass, you stare at a computer screen. The biggest problem with wow is: it’s fun and it consumes as much time as you are willing to invest. You can always level an alt, polish your gold-making pipeline or solo old content… to fill the gaps between raids. Before wow, I ran or swam every day, I read books galore and I enjoyed being bored and having time on my hands. Just now, (after more than two years) I am trying to reclaim that time by limiting my playtime to just two raid nights… nothing else. And it hurts.
    Wow is a time-sink and it replaces healthy activity with inactivity. Therefore, it is at best indirectly unhealthy.

  5. Robert

    For me, it’s just the opposite. The more I play, the gaunter I will be.
    I just forget to eat and drink while face melting during a heroic encounter.

    You know that’s not healthy either. Drinking too little is the mother of all evil. Never sit down in front of the computer without a big glass of water… drink it while you’re being rezzed and you’ll feel a little better ;-)

  6. Crowelf

    I work 8 hours a day, come home and run 3 miles every night, eat a relatively healthy dinner and then play WoW.

  7. sirfwalgman

    It’s all about setting time priorities.. anything can be a total time sink. If you keep to an exercise schedule and play wow around that then no reason to believe your going to be less healthy.

  8. Rivs

    Wow isn’t my problem, I drink whiskey like it’s my job. Hell WoW is actually healthy for me, cause it keeps me out of the bars.

    But it’s true all things in moderation…I knew a guy who ran everyday like crazy, died of a heart attack while running.

  9. Qarthos

    Time priorities, time consumption, even addiction if you’re not careful; these are the main problems you have to worry about. Its true that so many people end up using games as filler to fight off more conventional boredom. Even when gaming is boring, its still somewhat rewarding.

    6 and a half years I have lost to WoW and when I finally thought I was free, I’m considering going back.

    Luckily the time away has taught me things.

    1. The change is up to you, not your game.
    Without the motivation to get up and do things, it doesn’t matter whether or not you play addicting games. The hunger for internet and entertainment is just the same. When I stopped playing WoW a few times I filled the time by going through 15-35 episodes of anime a day or spending 4 hours straight on sites like armorgames, addictinggames, or vivalagames. If one refuses to give up such laziness, there is no end to the ways they can find to waste time.

    2. Other things can easily coexist
    Starting an exercise regimen or eating/living healthy doesn’t have to take up 5 hours a day. Even when you sleep a full night you have 14-16 hours in a day. How much of that is spent on idle waiting between subjects? Whether its waiting for the microwave to finish, sitting on a flightpath/autorun, or waiting for your computer to boot up, find something conductive to your better goals and work on it a little. Between practicing simple escrima (martial arts) movements and learning the melbourne shuffle bit by bit, I can definitively say I am noticeably better off now than I was a week ago, and this is almost all from filling that null-space with a bit of movement and motivation. At most I have had a time or two where I spent half an hour working on it as I realized I was starting to make a breakthrough on the patterns of each, and if you have the resources, don’t be afraid to challenge it a bit more. Anything that gives it a challenge (like adding weight using household objects) can make you fight for it that much more effectively. Think of it as trying to take down someone in pvp while having no resiliance. “I accept your challenge”

    3. Bored with a game? switch through all your options. Each game has something it can teach, and even if it only teaches an interesting story or something stupid to laugh about, its still worth it. If that doesn’t work, Go outside and hang with friends. I know you have some. Even if you’re spending 2 hours talking about the new patch updates and making game sound effects, that is the definitive sound of progress. Progress towards gamers taking back face to face conversations and tact as tradeskills.

    On the next episode…
    Multitasking: Myth or Premium Content?

  10. Miss Mediocre

    vivianlive : lol I agree with Robert, you’ve got to at least remember to drink something! haha

  11. Dan

    Hi there,

    It’s not any game in particular that is unhealthy it is indeed the time you want to devote to it that could end up to be a bad choice.
    I got myself into trouble playing GW 24/7, if you want to be “Leet” in game you just keep going and going, especially when you get started. Being in a guild in a big alliance wasn’t very helpful either, there was always someone on to play with so i basically never slept or it was behind the keyboard. I was unimployed when i started GW so had all the time in the world…the GW world that is. So gradually i started to gain weight, ordered out for food and never slept more than 4 hrs a night if at all. Thats all behind me now and everything is back to normal and i do still play games but not as a complete moron anymore. It’s not the game but the player that is dangerous. I do want to mention that for young people it really could be a problem to prioritize.

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