If you have followed any eSports closely, watching scrimmages or tournaments, chances are you have seen at least one or two players using hand warmers before, and sometimes after, games.
You may be wondering why do gamers use hand warmers. Well, you should know this isn’t the players being divas, or trying to make gaming look more difficult than it is. These hand warmers serve a pretty important purpose.
Just because you are playing a videogame indoors, not a sport outdoors, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care of your body and warm up before games.
This article will answer any questions you may have had about hand warmers and the role they play in the pro gaming scene.
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Why do gamers use hand warmers?
Gamers use hand warmers for the same reason you or I would. Their hands are cold. Of course, that is only a simple answer. The in-depth reason is that cold hands can negatively affect your ability to move them quickly and efficiently.
In games such as Dota 2 or League of legends, being able to move your hands and fingers quickly and comfortably could be the difference maker between winning and losing. Pro players are so equal in their skill that they must find an edge wherever they can. By giving themselves the flexibility they need they might come out with the win.
Why warm hands work better than cold is the same for any sport. If you are about to play a game of basketball, you would stretch first and do a little warm-up. This will get your muscles ready to go and help prevent cramps.
What causes cold hands?
The biggest reason for cold hands is likely a circulation issue. Most people have problems with their circulation now and again. Did you ever get a numb feeling in your hands or feet? Sometimes referred to as pins and needles.
This is often caused by a circulation problem. If you have bad circulation, blood can’t travel around your body as quickly or as freely as it perhaps should. Since blood is what keeps you warm, for the most part, having less of it will make you cold. This is the same reason that clapping your hands and throwing your arms downwards when outside will warm your hands up, it gets the blood pumping there.
Unfortunately, wearing gloves when gaming might not be the most effective method for keeping your hands warm. Can you imagine trying to play a high paced game with mittens on? Perhaps that would make a good event at all-stars, but you wouldn’t want to see it every day.
Do hand warmers prevent injury?
Injuries are not all that common in eSports. But, they still occur. Most of them are strain related. Playing videogames constantly isn’t great for you, getting carpal tunnel or even early onset arthritis is quite common. There are ways to combat this of course, like stretching. Taking regular breaks. Using ergonomic keyboards where possible. Or, using hand warmers.
They can be used before a game to loosen the muscles up and improve reaction times and prevent injuries and strain. But, they can also be used after the game. Heating and then cooling your muscles after strenuous activity is a good way of strengthening them and preventing injury in the future.
Most injuries aren’t even all that noticeable until the day after. Have you ever gone for a run, came back home feeling fine, only to wake up the next day unable to walk or move because your legs are so stiff and sore. Well, that’s because you likely didn’t cool down after your exercise. Or, you didn’t treat the muscles.
With a mixture of hot pads and ice pads. This mix, on a rotating basis, is great for soothing your muscles in your arms and legs. Just as it is great for soothing the muscles in your hands.
Is using hand warmers considered cheating?
Hand warmers are not considered cheating by pretty much all eSports leagues. It’s not like they are using lag switches. Sure, they give you an edge. But they don’t break the rules. Is warming up before a basketball game cheating? Or is it just professionalism?
Regardless of how you might feel about one team using hand warmers and the other not, it is considered fair game. What might be bordering on cheating is taking supplements to improve reaction time and dexterity. Again, taking legal supplements to do this can be considered professionalism, and taking care of your body. It is only when we go on to look at things such as steroids that whether or not something is considered an unfair advantage must be assessed.
Luckily for eSports, steroids are terrible for you. They might make you muscular but they remove dexterity in the hands and make you far more clumsy. They would be a terrible way of trying to cheat when playing videogames. The biggest thing someone might take to cheat is Adderal if they don’t need a prescription for it.
The increased focus could give them a competitive edge. Or, the shakes from taking an amphetamine might make them worse. That one is a real coin toss.
How do most hand warmers work?
Most hand warmers contain some kind of iron and carbon mix. Combined with a bag of what is usually saltwater. When the handwarmer is cracked, the iron and oxygen oxidize creating intense heat. This heat is transferred to and then held by the bag of water. Sometimes it can be a gel. Once the process is done, you will have about 30 minutes of decreasing warmth to play with.
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There are also reusable hand warmers that must be heated up in either a microwave or in boiling water. Some must be snapped to create the reaction, others must be used immediately after being heated up. A hot batter bottle would work too but bringing either that or a reusable hand warmer that requires a microwave isn’t always practical for gaming competitions.
The best hand warmers are unfortunately the single-use ones. They aren’t very environmentally friendly, sadly, but are the best to bring with you on your trips. In a pinch, you could just hold a warm cup of coffee. Coffee before a game might not be the worst idea either!
You should now have a pretty good understanding of why do gamers use hand warmers. It mostly boils down to increasing their performance and keeping their bodies healthy. Just like with any activity, you want to make sure to take the necessary precautions to avoid injury.
This also applied to intense gaming sessions, especially in the pro gaming scene. These players are going at it hardcore and for long periods of time. Hand warmers are just one of the few tricks they use to keep up with the competition and not fall behind.