While computer gaming and video games might sound amazing, the truth is that if played for a longer period of time, you can hurt yourself. This does not mean you can knock over the coffee table or accidentally hit your shin with the sofa.
Instead, when talking about the ergonomics of computer gaming, you should keep in mind that sitting in a chair all day while looking at the monitor and using the keyboard and mouse can cause discomfort and pain. If you are not careful, this can lead to repetitive strain injury.
How to Create an Ergonomic PC Setup
When it comes to the ergonomics of computer gaming, posture and seating position should be your first concern, especially when setting up a PC gaming setup. You will be sitting on your chair for many hours. When deciding which desk chair to go for, we would recommend that you opt for a gaming chair, as well as a standing table.
Gaming chairs are made for that purpose only and provide proper cushioning. Even though a gaming chair might be expensive, you can always opt for a desk chair that comes with an arm adjustment and height adjustment feature till you save up for a gaming chair.
You can alternate playing games by standing, as well as sitting. A standing desk allows your posture to remain neutral, and you might even be burning some calories as opposed to sitting.
When playing a game, you want your eye line and elbows to be adjusted with the monitor. A proper seating position will enhance the gaming experience. Thanks to advanced technology, there are many tools and accessories to make your gaming experience a memorable one.
Here are some fundamental rules to follow:
While setting up, you should make sure that your feet reach the ground. If they do not, use a platform or some type of stool so that your feet remain flat.
The contents of the monitor should be at eye level. While playing, you should not feel the need to look up at the monitor, nor should you feel the need to incline towards the monitor. The key is to remain comfortable so that you are not looking up or down.
Your elbows should be at 90 degrees when using your mouse and keyboard. Your elbows should also be at the same height as the desk.
You should also use accessories like cushions for lumbar support to aid your back. Moreover, wrist support would help ensure that you do not face any wrist pain in the future. To support your head, you could use a headrest.
According to Dr.Caitlin McGee, “your best posture is your next posture.” This means that even though your posture is important, you should also get up and keep moving every half an hour. It is important that you give your body a break and walk away from the PC every once in a while to get the blood flowing. If you sit in the correct position, your body will not experience pain and stress.
A poor posture can adversely affect your muscle efficiency and mobility. Your muscles would have to put in more effort to perform basic actions in the long run. The two types of postures are static and dynamic. A static position would be when you are watching television or just sitting, while a dynamic posture would be when you are moving, for example, walking.
In light of the ergonomics of computer gaming, your ideal posture would be between static and dynamic. There is no way that you can be only static or only dynamic while gaming.
Causes of Wrist Pain
A very common problem gamers face is wrist pain and injuries. This is not shocking since gamers spend a tad lot of time playing. Wrist pain can be of two types: chronic or acute.
Research shows that there are three main types of pains that occur. These include nerve, muscle, and tendon pain. In a muscle injury, you feel as if a knot is tied in your wrist. With tendonitis, you will feel some form of inflammation or irritation in your tendon. Finally, with nerve injury, you will have a numbing or tingling feeling. Keep in mind that there are other reasons for nerve injury that could be unrelated to your gaming experience as well.
So, how can one make sure that they do experience any form of injury while gaming? If the pain has been there for a long period of time, we would recommend that you go see a doctor immediately, or the pain might become chronic. On the other hand, if the pain has been there for a short period of time, then a change in habits and lifestyle would fix the problem.
You might shun the problem now, thinking that you are young and will get away with it, but that might become a problem for you in the long run. According to the World Health Organization, one in five people, including children, suffer from musculoskeletal pain. The numbers vary from country to country, but many people are living with chronic pain due to their sedentary lifestyle. The number in the United States of America is up to 150 million.
Researchers have also found out that young children are having issues performing simple tasks, such as handwriting. Moreover, they found that ergonomic factors play a crucial role in performance and outcome. If this is negatively affecting simple tasks, such as handwriting, are you sure that you want to continue gaming in a bad posture and are willing to become the next top-ranked gamer?
There is a supplement introduced in the market called “nootropics”. This supplement is basically used to enhance the gamer’s concentration and reaction time. The questions arise about whether they are effective? Are they safe to consume? To our very surprise, the answer is that they are not effective, and it is still unclear whether they are safe or not. Hence, we would recommend not trying out new things before consulting your doctor.
While we are on the topic of e-sports, have you ever thought about what it is like to be on a professional gaming team? Junk food and gaming go hand in hand, and gamers heavily rely on chips and fizzy drinks. A study was conducted at a training facility in Utrecht where gamers paid attention to nutrition, and there were two chefs on-site, so nutrition and fitness were also emphasized.
There are five things that Dr. McGee talks about that you can do to avoid getting yourself hurt while PC gaming. Fixing your posture and your desk is one of them, but to further improve your performance in gaming, you should exercise, focus on fitness, and get adequate amounts of sleep each night- try to get at least 8 hours of sleep consistently. Doing this will improve your performance immensely than chugging cans of energy drinks and just sitting in one place.
When we talk about aspects that make you better at whatever it is that you do, may it be gaming or playing football, keep in mind that 70% of improvement comes with consistency. To meet specific demands of your particular activity, you need to do some fundamental things like get enough sleep, take proper nutrition, and stay away from artificial medicines, and always remember to stay hydrated.
Tips and Tricks to Ensure Ergonomic Gaming
Every game has pauses and breaks, which is fortunate for you since you can make the most out of those breaks. Here is what to do during those breaks:
Get out of your chair and stretch. It is very important to stretch and get the blood flowing so that you can break the rut of sitting for hours at a stretch.
There are many easy exercises that you can do during this time, such as chest and upper back stretches, Bridge March stretch, neck rotation stretch, seated overhead stretch, shrug stretch, sitting cat-cow stretch, Table back stretch, wrist stretch, and the seated lower back stretch.
Keep in mind that it is just a game, and you need to take care of yourself. We understand it can be very easy to lose track of time in a competitive gaming session, especially when you are trying to reach the top of the ranking table. However, gaming for hours can drain all your energy and bring down your motivation.
When you are completely fatigued, the last thing you want to do is exercise, but it is the only thing that helps. So, think that the game is just for fun and get up and throw in some jumping jacks and push-ups. This will also get your adrenaline rushing and might kick your in-game performance up a notch.
Moreover, you should be aware of the 20/20/20 rule. In this, you focus on something new every 20 minutes, that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds. The best option is to look out of the window and make mental notes on what’s happening down the street or in the yard.
After all, what better than nature to look at? Doing this gives your eyes a bit of rest from all the gaming you have been doing. It also reduces the strain on the eyes. During these 20 seconds, you can do some quick jumping jacks or jog up and down the stairs in your house.
Remember to hydrate yourself. Whenever you start your gaming session or use the computer, always keep a water bottle within your reach. People always forget to keep themselves hydrated while gaming because they are so distracted.
However, remember that dehydration can cause a lot of issues, such as lower back pain, which a gamer would not want at all.
Pay Close Attention to Your Posture
It is time to fix your posture. Slouching can have quite a negative impact on your body and can cause severe pain and ailments, like nerve constriction and lack of circulation. The solution is very simple- sit straight.
It can be hard to keep sitting straight in a chair for hours, which is why you opt for a gaming chair or standing desk. However, once you change your sitting habits, your body will eventually get used to it. Remember to upgrade your equipment to a specific level so that it can support you and ensure that you stay fit.