I’m excited to help you avoid bad gaming posture and help you enjoy your gaming and stay healthier in the process.
Whatever type of gaming you choose, I’m sure you can improve your experience. What’s more, casual gamers through to pro e-sports athletes can enjoy improved gaming performance while reducing the risk of injury and pain by taking a few simple steps to protect their posture.
Gaming posture the stats
A 2019 survey suggested that gamers on average play for just over 7 hours a week. A single match of the hugely popular Call of Duty Warzone is 25 to 30 mins long. A single match of Fortnite is 20 mins long. That time can add up fast, just two games in a row of either title and you’ll already be sitting down for longer than the NHS recommend. NHS guidelines currently suggest adults get up and move every 30 mins.
Parents often worry about how long their kids spend gaming and the effect can be visible with a hunched posture. The average age of gamers continues to increase to, so for older gamers the problem is similar but as we get older we might be more susceptible to aches and pains in our backs, necks and shoulders.
How poor gaming posture translates to pain and health problems.
Unsupported postures cause the loads on your spine to disperse incorrectly, weakening the tissues in your lower back. As a result, the intricate network of muscles, discs, and joints in your back tend to be pushed beyond their tolerable limit, causing pain.
A 2015 study into the effect of slouched posture on stress concluded that “can maintain self-esteem, reduce negative mood, and increase positive mood compared to a slumped posture”
What can you do to improve posture while gaming?
Adjust your seating position
Get your seating position adjusted. If you use a dedicated gaming chair you should be able to make adjustments.
Follow these general tips to improve your set up.
- Get your seat height sorted. Ideally your seat base should be just below the level of your kneecap.
- Get your feet sorted. While your sitting aim to have your feet flat on the floor. If you find it more comfortable you might want to try a footrest or a couple of books. Keeping your feet on the floor spreads your weight and takes a significant amount of strain off your back.
- Adjust armrests to be around the height of your belly button when you’re sitting up straight.
Get up and move
Take breaks, every 30 mins try these. Not only will these movements help your posture they’ll also help your focus.
It’s widely accepted that physical activities can have a range of benefits for your mind as well as your body.
- Boosted memory
- Enhanced creativity
- Not to mention a mental health boost.
Get the hight of your monitor / screen right
Now you’ve got your seating sorted it’s important to get your screen in the right place. The position of your head plays an important part in your posture so if your screen is in an ergonomic position it’ll help you keep your head in a neutral comfortable position.
If you’re using a monitor then experts generally suggest keeping the top of the screen in line with your eyes.
With the height of the screen sorted, make sure you’re at a suitable distance. It’ll be easier on your eyes. You should be at least an arms length from the screen.
Balance your sedentary time with exercise
Lots of us enjoy gaming as it gives us a chance to relax. But it’s a good idea to be mindful of what we’re asking of our bodies.
For example if you’ve sat at a desk for most of the day, or perhaps spent hours sitting in the car enjoy your favourite games in the evening will likely add even more hours sat down in a similar position.
Sitting generally uses less energy than standing and moving. 13 studies of sitting time and activity levels found that people who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity faced a similar health risk as people who were obese or smoked. While that’s a shocking stat, the good news is it also found that just 60 - 75 mins of moderate physical activity countered the effects of too much sitting.
So adding more exercise to your routine if you plan to sit during your gaming sessions is a great idea.
Use a posture reminder and other posture tools.
A physical posture reminder is a great choice to use while you play. It’ll help instantly lift your posture and reduce the chance of you slouching during your gaming session.
If you can, go for a posture reminder rather than a fixed brace. Something like our posture t-shirt and posture flexi or posture kids work to activate your muscles. One of the advantages of that is that you’re training the muscles responsible for good posture at a low intensity while you’re doing something fun.
While it’s not for everyone you could also try active sitting or even adding some movement while you play. For some people it might be too much of a distraction, but you could try active sitting using a posture balance on your chair. That will help you to engage your core muscles and encourage some small movements to keep you in alignment. You could also try a swiss ball or and I’ve tested this while playing a few games use a static bike and do some low intensity cardio while you play.
My favourite is to combine the active sitting with a posture reminder.
What to takeaway from reading this?
Sitting down for too long gaming isn’t great, it’s likely to impact on both your health and your ability to focus on the game you’re playing.
Luckily the tips in this article should help. Firstly by making you aware of how your posture can be effected so you can take action. Next you can add in those quick breaks, make sure you’re doing enough exercise to balance the sitting and use a posture reminder to actively improve your posture. Those should help to offset the additional sitting time.
Then there are the tips to improve how ergonomic your gaming position is. With the right chair set up, correct screen set up and using posture tools.