Ok, first things first. I’m not going to start bashing gamers for the sake of this post, there’s plenty of game bashers out there with their claims of games making you a potential murderer or rotting your brains. I’m a gamer and I’ve not murdered anyone, yet. I will freely admit to taking a day off work to handily coincide with the latest Grand Theft Auto release and spending pretty much all day immersed in the graphical goodness. Though my back rarely thanks me for such an endeavor it usually gets over it. I can always get a massage if I need one. Actually, I have actually treated people with “post-game honeymoon” backache. Anyway, my gaming long plays are very rare and generally pitiful in comparison with what most gamers/streamers get up to these days. A 12 hour day for a YouTube/Twitch streamer is just a normal day at the office.
So, if you are like me or all together way more hardcore, what do you do?
1. Chair – Seriously, you have to buy the absolute best chair you can afford. All decent chairs will have a rating as to how long you should sit in it per day. Don’t just buy a gaming chair because it claims it’s a gaming chair and it looks like a boy racers car seat. Check the chair’s rating. It must be as adjustable as possible as this will give you more positional options.
2. Arm Rests – If you have armrests you probably have them set too high. If you’re hunching your shoulders a little then they’re too high and you’ll get stiff neck and shoulder muscles.
3. Desk – If you’re a PC gamer, a good desk setup is as important as the chair. An adjustable table is preferable as again it’ll give you more options.
4. Body Position – Your body position must be as comfortable and natural as possible, at all times. Sat on the edge of sofa all hunched over like a church gargoyle will quickly lead to a life of spinal misery. Generally, you will want to avoid things like tucking your legs underneath each other, excessive bending or stretching of any joint of the body, overreaching toward input devices, good head position, and relaxed shoulders. If this all seems like it might be a bit too technical for you, ask yourself this question. Am I comfortable? Your body will answer the question for you.
5. Move – The human body never evolved to endure extended periods of sitting. We are creatures intended to move. It’s one of the reasons we have big brains. Well, some of us at least. Big chunks of your brain are there to control movement and as such, there is no substitute for it. So move! Schedule breaks. Get a daily gym session in. You get my drift.
6. Breathe – Being sat for long periods can affect how deeply we breathe, and as such how much oxygen we get to our brains. Want to be more focussed during a Destiny speed run? Breathe!
7. Rest – Yup, I dared to go there. Know when to take a break, or when to put the controller down. Definitely put the controller down between rounds if you’re an FPS kind of person. Oh, and when you’re ready to hang up your sniper rifle for the evening, try and give your brain enough to unwind before going to bed. You’ll sleep better.
8. COD Finger – You know when you playing a new game, and it just stresses your fingers differently than other games you’ve played? Maybe the use of L2 and R2 are heavier on this game than the button basher you just finished and you’re getting a bit of finger ache. This is called “COD Finger”. It’s a real thing, maybe. When you have this issue you must ease off and rest up a bit. If you’re a competitive gamer or streamer and you’re having finger pains it’s a sign that they are overworked. There are many methods for reducing inflammation in the hands as well as many exercises you can do strengthen your fingers, you should do them. All these are cheaper than surgery or giving up something that you love.
9. Screen – I could go on about how a good screen is better for your eyes but I won’t. Just get the biggest and best screen you can because it’s cool.
Happy gaming boys and girls!