Muscle Sport Magazine

What Are the Benefits of Physical Fitness in Poker?

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Out of all the card games, the one that stimulates the brain the most is poker.  With this in mind however, it’s important to remember that physical fitness plays an important role in helping your brain function at an optimal level as well. And this begs the question: Can physical exercise actually benefit you at the poker tables?

The Need For Activity


The lifestyle of a typical poker player isn’t exactly the healthiest one you can think of. They say sitting is the new smoking,  and even if this idea has been debunked, the underlying premise is fair: We sit and stare at screens more than we ought to. Accordingly, avid poker players can be at risk of various ailments linked to extended sitting, low physical activity, and, in many cases, isolation. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to avoid all of this: Include some physical exercise in your daily routines.


Generally speaking, there is not an exact “right” or “correct” amount of exercise to get. Some will tell you that 30 minutes per day should be a bare minimum, and that’s not a bad threshold to start at. But the amount of exercise you need also varies depending on your condition and your fitness goals. For the purposes of this conversation however, you should strive to be active every day. Whether that means getting away from your computer for a yoga break, taking a walk around the block, or lifting weights in the evening is up to you. Just be sure there’s some activity mixed into long gaming sessions (or whatever it is that’s keeping you sedentary). Your body and mind will both be healthier for it, making you more alert and better able to focus on your poker games. 


For that matter, you should also find a way to work in some sleep. This is another aspect of physical fitness, and unfortunately another side effect of all of our screen time is that our minds are seldom primed for sleep when they should be. In this case though, the benefits to both your health and your poker game are quite clear. It’s widely recommended that you aim for eight hours of sleep each night to stay healthy. Likewise, it is also a tip for poker players seeking improvement to get more rest –– the logic being that if the game is taking away from sleep, you’re going to suffer for it, and ultimately lose at the tables.

What Kind of Workout Should You Do?


As we acknowledged above, the real key is simply to make physical activity (as well as sleep) part of your routine –– whatever that may mean for you. There is no universal best workout, nor is there an exercise that specifically prepares you for poker. 


That said, you should give some thought to your goals. If you want to achieve long-term cardio benefits, you’ll want to set up a routine mixing walking and running workouts. If your goal is just to get your heart rate up in the middle of long sessions of gaming or working, you might try HIIT (high-intensity interval training). If your goal is to build muscle, establish a weight-training routine, and if you’d like to improve flexibility and tone, try yoga. Each of these exercises helps your body in different ways. But all can do the trick as far as getting you physically and mentally primed to play poker. 


In the end, you may just be surprised how much sharper you feel at the tables when you’ve been exercising regularly.  

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