Gaming has never been as popular as it is today, with people from eight to 80 years old embracing it as a favored hobby. The escapism that gaming provides can have downsides though – the hours can quickly fly by and, if you are not looking after yourself, you can end up with prolonged musculoskeletal issues. Read on for our guide to ensuring proper posture while you are gaming.
The first thing that most gamers want is comfort. You’ll probably be sitting in that spot for many hours over the course of a week or month, and so you want to make sure that you are comfortable. Rigid-backed, wooden chairs (like a dining room or classroom chairs) are not built for comfort, so you’ll want either a dedicated, purpose-built gaming chair or for a more versatile and cost-effective option, a good quality office chair. If you are console gaming rather than at a PC/desk, then a bean bag is also a good choice – it will conform to your body and allow you to change your position easily.
It’s not what most gamers perhaps want to hear, but you absolutely need to set your time limits and stick to them. Take a ten-minute break every couple of hours, walkabout, and get the blood pumping. You’ll find when you come back that you are more focused and alert, so there are game-related benefits as well as health-based ones like improved blood flow, less eye strain, and fewer nerve or muscle problems from sitting for too long.
Take the opportunity to stay hydrated and fed, and use the bathroom – it might seem obvious, but these are three areas in which gamers have been known to neglect themselves.
Poor posture is the foundation of a whole range of health issues, some of which can stay with you for the rest of your life. Don’t let the way you sit in front of the screen at the age of 20 affect how you can move around in your 60s and 70s – be proactive. Make sure you follow these rules:
When you are seated, keep your feet comfortably flat on the floor. If your chair is too low your thighs won’t rest on the chair and your muscles will be in a constant state of tension. If your chair is too high, then your feet will swing or not be fully at rest on the floor. Both of these scenarios cause discomfort in the short term and can lead to back, neck, and joint issues over the longer term.
Don’t give in to the temptation to slouch or lean into the screen. This will put your back, legs, and eyes in the wrong position, and cause issues with your musculoskeletal system. Sit up straight with your back resting against the chair back. You can use lumbar support (some chairs have these built-in, or you can get them separately if necessary) to ensure that the curve of your spine is supported correctly. Some higher-end office chairs even have headrests to relieve some of the pressure on the neck over really long gaming sessions.
Your screen should be at eye level. If it is too high or too low, even by the smallest of degrees, you can suffer from neck pains, headaches, and eye strain when you are gaming for longer periods. Use monitor stands, risers, or wall-mounting to make sure that your screen is in the exact right spot – for a budget-friendly option, you can even use a couple of books or something else sturdy and flat that you have to lie around.
In terms of the distance from your eyes, your screen should be at least 50 centimeters from you. Bigger screens should be further away so that your peripheral vision can take in all of the display without having to move your head left and right or up and down. Make sure you can see the details you need to without straining or having to lean forward – most games will let you adapt visual settings to brighten, sharpen or increase the size of certain aspects (like text, for example).
If you are gaming with a controller, then you don’t need to worry too much about your peripheral positioning – you’ll be holding the controls and will naturally fall into a comfortable, strain-free position. If you game with a keyboard and/or mouse, then you will need to put a bit of thought into your set-up. Try to keep your arms bent at 90 degrees to facilitate good blood flow, and make sure you don’t have to stretch or make sudden violent movements to reach the controls you need.
Author Bio: First Mats started life as a safety matting specialist, but has since expanded to become a complete industrial and commercial supplies company. The focus of First Mats is to provide safety-focused products that improve the wellbeing of staff through quality-approved products, backed up by extensive knowledge. www.firstmats.co.uk