Have you ever tried to type something on your phone after being outside in the cold, only to realize your fingers were stiffer and harder to use than usual? While that’s a minor inconvenience that comes to pass after you’ve given your hands a few minutes to warm up, you might find it to be more of an issue if your fingers are cold and stiff during a 5v5 late-game teamfight that will decide if you win or lose the 45-minute game.
If you watch the LCS or any other competitive league, perhaps you’ve already seen pros shaking their hand warmers during the draft phase. Yep, the same hand-warmers you stuff in your coat pockets on a cold winter day. While professional players are making every effort to ensure that their hands are warm before the game, does it really help – and is this something you should consider before your solo queue games as well?
A 2015 the University of Hong Kong study set out to study the effect of cold on manual dexterity and reaction time, and what they found might surprise you.
“An experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of cold on manual dexterity, reaction time, and optimum grip-span. The participants were twelve healthy male university students (median = 20 years). The results showed that performance on the O’Connor dexterity test, stabilimeter and reaction time tests was significantly lower at low temperature (10 °C) compared to performance at higher temperatures (20 °C and 30 °C)”
If you’re queueing up in the middle of the summer, your room is pretty warm, and your hands feel just like they would on any other day – you probably wouldn’t see much improvement in your games if you were to rush out and buy a box of hand warmers to use in the pre-game lobby. However, if your room is a little chilly and your hands feel stiff you might consider trying to find a way to warm up your hands and improve your circulation to them.
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How Can I Keep My Hands Warm When I Game?
There are plenty of ways to make sure that cold hands aren’t an influencing factor on your winrate, and not all of them are as immediate as grabbing some hand warmers or turning up the heat in your apartment.
- Are your hands always a little clammy? Take a look at how your lifestyle decisions may be impacting your circulation. “Poor circulation is a common problem caused by a number of conditions… Reduced blood flow can cause unpleasant symptoms, such as pain, muscle cramps, numbness, digestive issues and coldness in the hands or feet. In addition to those with poor circulation, athletes and active individuals may want to increase blood flow in order to improve exercise performance and recovery.” Who would have thought that eating better IRL might have an impact on if you get fed in-game as well?
- Take a hot shower or run warm water from the faucet over your hands and wrists if they start to feel stiff. Heat causes our blood vessels to expand, allowing for increased blood flow through our extremities.
- Step away from the PC for a minute and get some exercise. Even short 12-minute cardiovascular sessions can provide a wide array of benefits; not only can you improve your circulation but your overall physical fitness will get a buff too.
- Wear gloves. Anything fingerless that lets you retain your fine motor control while keeping your hands warm is fine, you don’t have to break the bank for some ‘gamer gloves’ that promise to take your performance to the next level.
- Enjoy a nice warm beverage! Wrapping your hands around a warm mug will not only warm your hands and improve blood flow to your fingers, but hydration plays a key role in making sure our blood is circulating through our bodies properly as well. Just don’t overdo it on the caffeine if you’re a coffee drinker, it won’t do you any good if you warm up your hands but become a shaky mess in the process.
Have any of these tips helped you keep your hands warm while you’re gaming, or do you have an off-meta strat that I haven’t mentioned? Let’s hear about it in the comments!