Time stops for no man, an undeniable truth of the human experience.
A recent study published by Simon Fraser University discovered that from the age of 24 onward (and you’re not going to like this) reaction time for gamers begins a steady decline. In other words: you’re… like… getting old, dude.
While the study suggests other factors like wrist dexterity and social or cultural pressures may play a part, the fact remains – the older you get, the slower your response time becomes with each passing year.
There’s good news for all you old-timers out there, though… it’s not quite time to hang up the headsets and start looking into dentures just yet.
Although cognitive decline can’t be 100% prevented, the results from the same study indicate that a gradual shift towards more strategy-heavy tactics can yield even better results.
So, what can you do to keep your game fierce into your twilight years? Read on!
Starcraft and labcoats… what could go wrong?
To better understand the relationship between age and reaction time, the Simon Fraser team based their research on Starcraft 2 players of different age groups and analyzed their “looking-doing latencies” – the time between seeing and responding.
The reason Starcraft 2 was used for the case study is simple; it’s hard and very complex.
To excel at this particular, game you need lightning-fast reflexes, a memory like a steel trap, and to be capable of comfortably managing and predicting several strategies at once.
Put simply, it’s a hyperactive, laser-focused form of future chess.
And well… you guessed it: the older the player, the slower the player – a fact which only gets more true with age.
They found that a 39-year-old elite player was about 150 milliseconds slower per action than a 24-year-old counterpart, giving the younger player roughly a 30-second advantage over 15 minutes of gameplay.
Now you’re probably thinking: Thirty seconds over 15 minutes? That’s nothing, right?
Well… some elite players are capable of a staggering 10 actions per second, meaning that half a minute in real-time gameplay is… how to put this… yuuuuge!
And this is true for all game tastes, be it a motor skill heavy first-person shooter like CS:GO, where milliseconds determine who lives and dies, MOBA games with heavy focus on resource management, and especially battle royals such as PUBG or Fortnite where faster reactions often determine the victor.
Bottom line: Every action counts and more seconds mean more actions.
Bummer for anyone pushing 30, right?
Well, it’s not all bad news.
The study also discovered that older players implemented better use of hotkey shortcuts, adding more complexity to their overall strategies.
So in this department the older players actually had the advantage, they just had it a little slower.
So for ageing players (and that’s all of us, frankly), the research shows that a gradual shift in tactics will yield the best results.
After all, a solid strategy runs on a solid foundation AKA your brain and body.
Age like wine, not like milk
First off, though you can’t prevent the effects of ageing, there are quite a few things you can do to mitigate them. In this case, we’re talking about ways you can maintain your reaction time.
For many in the mainstream gaming community, it’s common knowledge that better health means better performance.
This is especially true for the teams at the top of their game.
To understand why, just look at the badass training methods of professional sports icons.
Coaches, trainers, and athletes in sports like gymnastics, cycling, and soccer realize that even the slightest advantage makes all the difference in high-stakes competition.
These pros are hyper-aware of their exercise routines, what needs work, what’s going into their bodies, and, more importantly, what isn’t.
They recognize that the only way to truly maintain a competitive edge is with body and mind running in peak condition.
And here’s the thing: Esports is no different.
Elite gamers are turning to practices like meditation to increase mental sharpness, calm nerves, and maintain a more stable emotional balance.
More and more players are hitting the gym.
Physical exercise and cardio not only improve motor reflexes (which helps with reaction time) but also improve all-around performance, especially where stamina is concerned.
Healthy diets are key, as they promote higher brain function and an overall sense of well-being.
You can add to that by using healthy alternatives to energy drinks and stimulants such as MADMONQ® to provide a more balanced source of energy.
Staying on point means playing smarter – a concept which is essentially the essence of the MADMONQ® brand.
Be smart about your goals.
Be smart about your training routines.
And most definitely, be smart about how you’re treating your body.
Being smart also means realizing that going “all out” at the expense of your body isn’t the way to get things done, either.
The main culprits here are going without sleep, a poor diet consisting of fast foods, not getting adequate exercise and overusing unhealthy stimulants.
You may feel indestructible now, but treating your body like a dumpster is not only awful for overall health, it’s bad for your long-term performance potential.
And neither does SK Gaming’s head honcho, Coldzera.
In fact, to keep his game razor-sharp, he made his fitness regimen the top priority of his training routine.
I guess what we’re getting at here… there’s a better way to be your best self.
And MADMONQ® will help.
Being healthier isn’t about making a single change, i.e. “I want to become healthy.” It’s about making lots of small, easy decisions throughout the day.
Here’s a not-so-short list of some of them:
Drink, but don’t drink calories
The more you drink, the better you’ll feel. For uncompromising hydration, check out these tips.
- Water with a squeeze of lemon
- Water + lemon is refreshing and awesome! For extra hydration, add a pinch of salt.
- Pro-tip: Use Himalayan salt. It contains extra beneficial trace elements.
- Unsweetened tea (green, herbal or black)
- Tea’s benefits go far beyond hydration. The antioxidants, polyphenols, theanine and caffeine in tea can help improve your health.
- Coffee? Replace milk with cinnamon
- Milk is calories. Lactose is sugar. So, avoid it. Cinnamon makes it sweeter and helps stabilize blood sugar = stable energy.
- Limit diet drinks to 1 per day or less
- Artificial sweeteners are not optimal. Try to limit them as much as you can.
- No soft drinks, fruit juice or milk
- They contain tons of simple sugar. You’ll get the sugar spike and the crash is inevitable.
Try it for a day. You’ll thank us.
Sleep is crucial for a healthy mind and body. Going without sleep doesn’t just negatively affect your game – it can put you at risk for serious health issues.
For the best sleep:
- Aim for at least 7.5 hours per night
- Different people, different amounts. But 7.5 hours should do it for almost anyone.
- Turn on airplane mode
- Constant beeps, buzzes and notifications from your phone will affect your sleep, so why risk waking up? Turn them off.
- For the best sleep, go to bed at the same time every day.
- Darkness is your friend
- Try to make it as dark as possible. Light exposure at night stimulates alertness and can lead to lighter, less effective sleep.
- Avoid blue light from screens
- Screens emit blue light and will confuse your brain into thinking it is daytime. Use f.lux (or night-modes) to strengthen the red spectrum and signal the brain to shut down.
We’ll be looking more at the importance of sleep in the near future. So definitely stay tuned.
Find opportunities for physical activity anywhere you can. Again, make little decisions each day to move and stay healthier. Getting the blood pumping flushes debris and toxins from your system, both good things. Start small and you’ll see a difference in no time. Some ideas:
- Take your dog for longer, more frequent walks
- Offer to carry the heavier things around the house like a hero
- Volunteer to take out the trash
- Pro-tip: Try to carry all of it in one trip, don’t be a wuss
- If you haven’t tried touching your toes lately, give it a shot (we believe in you)
- Do 10–15 squats before each gaming session
- Squats are insanely awesome. They increase metabolism, improve blood flow to the brain, and greatly reduce fatigue.
These tips are just a taste of things to come.
Be on the lookout for more simple, efficient, and science-based tools from us, coming soon.
Games take strategy as does life, and it’s never too early to start strategizing for the long game.
At MADMONQ® we’re here to help you master your craft.
Our message is actually quite simple: play smarter, live healthier, and be the fiercest damn gamer you can be.