Playing videogames has gone from something children play to becoming for many adults a full time job. Gamers and gaming are more popular than ever, with professional teams competing on the international stage. Esports is the new sports, and like sports, there are some serious injuries you can sustain if you’re not careful. Here’s some ways you can prevent yourself from getting injuries as a gamer.
The most likely health risk a dedicated gamer faces is long term back problems. Your back is an incredibly important part of your body, there’s all sorts of muscles and nerves doing stuff and frankly you don’t want to mess it up. But unlike a broken arm or twisted ankle, long term back damage takes longer to build up and it’s easy to miss the early signs.
Luckily it’s also easy to correct with just a few simple tricks and a little awareness. Making small changes to your habits and surroundings can fix things in no time.
The most likely reason a gamer will experience back pain is because of bad posture. If you sit with bad posture for long periods of time, you’re putting strain on parts of your spine that you shouldn’t be.
A little pain when you stretch up after 10 hours of gaming might seem normal, but over time this can greatly affect the health of your spine and make you more prone to other, more dangerous back injuries.
There’s lots of things you can do to improve your back posture. Some of them are as easy as trying to remember not to slouch, to making sure you get up and take a walk around every few hours.
Exercise is one the easiest and healthiest ways to keep your back in good condition. Getting up every two or so hours from the sitting position and walking around for 15 minutes will do wonders for your aches and pains. Sitting in one position non stop for hours puts pressure on your spine in the same areas, getting up and moving means pressure is taken away and your muscles can stretch out a bit.
The best part of this is that it’s not even rigorous exercise you need to engage in. You don’t need to work up a sweat, just go outside and walk a block. It also has the added benefit of getting you some much needed fresh air and relaxing your eyes from the glare of monitor screens.
The most common form of bad posture in gamers is the hunch. Gamers will hunch over the computers and laptops for hours at a time, curving their spine in a way that strains the joints and muscles.
The reason for this is often the monitor gamers use will be below their eye line. This forces their neck down so they can see the screen. Make sure the top of your monitor reaches normal eye level and this will help you stop hunching over.
It’s most likely that those using laptops will be affected by this, but you can buy stands to place your laptop on so it’s at a higher level.
Having the right furniture
Making sure your neck, back and feet are all in the right position all the time sounds tedious and easy to forget. It is. That’s why having the right gaming set-up goes a long way for your health. Getting furniture that’s designed to help your posture means less thinking on your end.
Make sure you get a desk that’s at the right height for you. One size does not fit all. Remember that your arms should come out and rest on the table completely horizontally at a 90 degree angle from your elbow.
Your desk chair can also go a long way to helping your posture. Ergonomic chairs have been a staple in offices for years and gamers are getting in on the trend. Gaming specific chairs can be seen on most pro-gamer streams.
At Sugarcookie.com we got our hands on some noblechairs, one of the few gaming chairs that have the BIFMA and DIN EN 1335 certification, meaning you can sit in them for 9+ hours. Most gaming chair brands don’t offer this so be sure to check when buying.
The noblechairs also offer cold cut foam padding on the inside, a design made specifically to help with posture. The material of your chair is also important, and the hero series we use has pretty high quality materials and can hold up to 180kg.
It often feels more relaxing to sit with your legs straight out and resting on something. However for your back it’s not good. The best position for your feet to be at is firmly planted on the floor.
Your feet should be on the floor, your knees directly above them, and your bum at 90 degrees to your knees. This sitting position means your supporting your core and lower back properly. It feels uncomfortable at first if you’re not used to it, and you’ll feel inclined to slouch back into your previous position. But if you keep it up you’ll get used to it and feel the long term benefits to your back.
The hardest part about maintaining good back health is to not fall back into bad habits. Staying aware of your body and its posture will feel tedious and it’s easy to forget. Correcting yourself whenever you forget will help it become second nature. Even if sitting with proper posture at first feels uncomfortable, this is only because your muscles and spine aren’t used to it yet.
It’s only by maintaining these guidelines that you’ll be able to prevent long term back pain. As gamers remembering your physical body is seriously important for your health.