Newsflash: Study Reveals Pro Gamers Are Out Of Shape

Newsflash: Study Reveals Pro Gamers Are Out Of Shape

British scientists recently studied pro gamers’ physiology and reflexes to determine if what they do could be classified as a sport. One gamer in his 20s was described as having the lungs of a 60-year-old chain smoker.

The University of Essex’s Dr Dominic Micklewright worked out several “elite cyber-sportsmen” and found that while their reaction to visual stimuli matched that of fighter pilots, their physical fitness levels were more befitting someone much older or much younger. One gamer described as having “a physique similar to an endurance athlete”, was found to have the lung function a doctor would expect to find in a 60-year-old smoker.

“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,” Mickelwright told The Telegraph of London.

All is not bad news: Pro gamers shared the reaction time, motor skill, competitive drive and emotional makeup of top athletes.

But bottom line, they’re not athletes.

”Gaming shares some characteristics with sport because both are competitive, skill-based and governed by structured rule,” Mickelwright said. “But the main distinction which precludes gaming from being a sport is the lack of physical exertion.”

Gamers aren’t the only ones unhappy with that. Bowlers, golfers and NASCAR drivers probably want a piece of that guy, too.

Computer Gamers “Have Reactions of Pilots but Bodies of Chain Smokers” [The Telegraph via Hot Blooded Gaming]


  • Interesting last sentence. I’m sure that bowlers, golfers and NASCAR drivers are all quite a bit fitter than progamers. Each of these sports requires infinitely more physical exertion than gaming. Well, unless your playing on the Wii. 🙂

  • Sorry, is NASCAR easy? We don’t have that going round in circles race here in Oz. I’ve heard that F1 drivers do it extremely tough and burn tonnes of calories in a race, but they pull a lot more Gs I expect.

  • NASCAR is very tough, only reason I’d read up on it was due to Marcus Ambrose. Definately not the same as a sunday drive.

    I’d have to agree with Jon though, if darts can be classified as a sport, why not gaming?

  • Sport has nothing to do with physical exertion. As some other posters said, darts are a sport, so is archery and rifling. Neither have much physical exertion.

  • thats why todays gamers hate motion gaming more than the kids in the arcades who dreamed of more immersive gaming.

    we are too fat for the joys of motion gaming, and who says being fat is bad, more fat people = less soldiers = less wars = peace. maybe everyone has been praying we all get so fat that we cease to fight.

  • Occupational hazard?! As someone who sits in front of a computer all day to make a living I’m probably just as out of shape as a professional gamer so what’s their point?

  • Crazyguy: Just because you do not like the results of the study it does not mean it is made up

    It isn’t such an outrageous find, I don’t think anyone can honestly say they don’t think a large portion of gamers are out of shape (to put it nicely).

    Whenever I am in a LAN I will usually think about how ‘this is why people will never respect the pro gaming community’, there are exceptions but its hard to look past the cases that look like a drain on the public health system waiting to happen. That’s also not to say that gaming is bad (duh) but if you want people to show support for your cause you need to present the best image possible and being unfit, over weight and claiming that any evidence that you are these things is b/s don’t do us any favors.

  • Chess is actually classified as a sport by the IOC (even though it’s not an olympic sport). Gamers pressing buttons on a controller would burn a hell of a lot more calories (at least 3 or 4) per day than chess players.

    I have to disagree though Tezz, I think gamers gain weight when they play motion games. Here’s my rationale: most motion games are rubbish, people become sad after playing them, low mood has been linked to overeating.

    Anyway guys, see you all at the gym, I have a belly to lose.

  • If competitive Chess (or any board game) is considered a sport, so should pro-gaming.

    Doctor Micklewright is comitting the fallacy of the Frozen Abstraction; he’s substituting a subclass for the class as a whole (in this case, the wider class is “sport” and the subclass he mistakenly believes to be the wider class is “physical sport”).

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