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The Ergonomics Guide for Gamers

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You might not realise it, but the way your body rests while gaming can play a massive impact on your health. Whether you’re on console or PC, the way you play can be managed to prevent any sort of future health issues. It’s not difficult, and it will save you from various aches and pains you may already be familiar with.

There are 4 main areas which you need to protect while you’re gaming. They are your:

  • Eyes
  • Neck
  • Back
  • Wrists

But how do you ensure you’re protected? Simply by adjusting your set-up so that it’s properly suited to your physical needs. There may be some necessary upgrades, so if any of your equipment is getting old, your health is the perfect excuse to renew them. 

Keep an Eye On It

Staring at a screen for hours upon hours can do some serious damage to your eyes, and leave you with eyestrain – or worse. There are a couple of ways to combat this, and keep your eyes healthy. 

Firstly, is the 20/20/20 rule. This consists of every 20 minutes, focusing on something 20 feet (6 metres) away, for 20 seconds. This short gap gives your eyes a much-needed rest, and forces them to look at something that isn’t incredibly close to them.

Another way in which you can protect your eyesight is through the use of blue light glasses. These glasses have a filter which helps to remove the harmful blue light emitted by TV and computer screens, allowing your eyes to stay healthier for longer. 

If you experience any headaches after gaming for a prolonged period, this could be why. Try these tips and see if it improves, no matter how slight the headache may be.

An Arms Length Away

You won’t need to buy a new monitor, just make sure yours is in the right position. As a general rule of thumb, your monitor should be an arm’s length away from you, give or take the length of your hand. 

If possible, you should also have the monitor tilted backwards slightly. This will help you to look with your eyes, rather than forcing your neck to move when glancing at different parts of your screen. 

This is probably the easiest tip to implement, and especially important if you find yourself suffering from neckache

Will the Gamers Please Stand Up

Funnily enough, sitting around playing games all day is not good for you – but there is a loophole! If you invest in a standing desk, like the ones produced by UpDown Desk, you can easily switch between sitting and standing. 

It might seem like a small thing, but mixing sitting with standing can actually help to massively reduce blood sugar spikes, back pain, and fatigue. Initially it’ll seem odd, but your body will quickly get used to it and the health benefits are incredible. 

If you’re on console, there’s no excuse to avoid incorporating standing into your playtime. Try building yourself up slowly. Stand for 5 minutes out of every 30 you play, and work your way towards standing for half your playtime. Once you’ve stood while gaming a few times, you might even start to feel the benefits. 

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

When you are sitting, you must make sure you’re in the right position to give your body the correct support. The ideal chair will be fully adjustable, and have lumbar support for your lower back. 

If it doesn’t, you’re putting extra pressure on your spinal discs, and this can easily cause pain and injury. If you’ve ever had a sore back after gaming for a long time, you know exactly what I mean.

The best chairs to combat this sort of injury is a gaming chair, and there are many different types to suit your personal gaming set up. While they are expensive, my chair of choice is a SecretLabs TITAN

Not only is it incredibly comfortable, but it encourages you to lean back in the chair, rather than hunch over. This takes the pressure off your spine, and helps to promote a better gaming posture. 

If the Titan isn’t for you, then shop around for something that is. Remember, it needs to support you properly so make sure anything you get has the right features. 

How Your Wrist Rests

This is aimed at PC gamers, since they’re the ones sat (or stood) at a desk. When using a keyboard and mouse, you need to be mindful of whether your wrists are overly bent. If this is the case, then repetition of this improper posture can cause repetitive strain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, or other wrist conditions. 

When your hands and wrists are in a natural, resting position, they should be both completely flat and straight. This will also help to reduce any sort of fatigue you could develop from gaming for a long time. 

Of course, this can apply to controller users too. Make sure you are using your armrests, and if they are adjustable, set them into the proper positioning to provide the best support. Armrests take the weight off your shoulders too, helping you to maintain the proper positioning that keeps your body sitting in the way it’s meant to.