London, June 8 (ANI): Professional computer gamers are so good at their job that their reactions match that of fighters pilots'. However, on the downside, their bodies are like that of 60-year-old chain smokers.
These are the conclusions of tests conducted by a university academic to determine whether playing on computers could be defined as a sport.
In his study, Dr Dominic Micklewright, from the University of Essex, put several "elite cyber-sportsmen" through their paces to see how they compared to professional athletes. Through the research, he also wanted to determine whether video gaming should be classed as a sport.
After analyses, it was found that the cyber-sportsmen had mental sharpness and psychological traits comparable to 'real' athletes, and reacted to visual stimuli almost as fast as fighter jet pilots.
But their fitness levels were shockingly low and comparable to people either much younger or much older than their actual age.
A leading gamer, who was in his twenties, appeared to be healthy with a physique similar to an endurance athlete. But tests revealed he in fact had the lung function and aerobic fitness of a heavy smoker in his sixties, reports The Telegraph.
Micklewright blamed the gaming lifestyle of spending 10 hours a day in front a computer screen for it.
He said: "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.
"It is always difficult to say how these things will develop, but it could have long term health implications such as an increased risk of heart disease.
"Screen time with children has a very strong correlation with childhood obesity and risk factors with heart disease later in life."
However, Micklewright was surprised by the number of characteristics gamers did share with top athletes.
He said: "Their reaction time, motor skill, competitiveness and emotions were pretty close.
"Elite athletes have unusually high levels of positive feelings and low levels of negative feelings such as depression and fatigue.
"We saw similar characteristics in gamers, albeit not quite as pronounced." (ANI)