The gaming industry has changed so much throughout the years that you’ll always be surprised with another discovery, from how you play to how developers create games. Although playing used to be only for recreational purposes, now you can even watch and participate in gaming contests worldwide that invest thousands of dollars in the organisation.
But with so many advantages and opportunities, there are also dangers to your body because even if you’re not aware, the posture you’re sitting in is probably not correct at the moment. It also applies to professional gamers, developers and creators, so regular people are not the only ones affected. If you’re curious about why posture matters, in this article, you’ll read more about the risks of sitting in the wrong position when gaming.
What’s an ergonomic position?
Sitting long hours at a desktop might look comfortable, but if you do not have a correct position and you’re not adjusting your desk and screen, it can harm your body. Therefore, if you want to be healthy and play simultaneously, look into ergonomics, a field concerned with fitting a workplace to your body’s needs. It consists of knowing how to seat to minimise the risk of injury and harm, and it uses certain data from several medical fields, such as:
- Anthropometry (body size, shape)
- Biomechanics (muscle, levers, strength)
- Environmental physics (light, noise)
With this information, specialists gathered some important guidelines regarding how you are supposed to use the workspace for your well-being. So, if you want to sit comfortably, you should:
- Choose the right chair. When sitting down, your chair should support your spinal curves. Adjust your height so that your feet rest flat on the floor, and your armrests should let your arms rest on them.
- Replace your keyboard and mouse. When typing, your wrists should be straight and your upper arms close to your body.
- Position your monitor. When working, the monitor should be in front of you, and the top of the screen needs to be at least slightly below eye level.
Poor ergonomic environment for developers
These issues are not limited to casual gamers ― game developers also are affected not only at a physical level but with their mental health being affected too. Some of them worked long hours at night to hit deadlines, especially when the pandemic started. The problem began from working from home, without the proper equipment for employees, therefore affecting their health even more. Even if the companies were supposed to support this inevitable move, that didn’t happen, leading to the highest rates of burnout.
Businesses must comply with the Health and Safety regulations and ensure that their employees are working in the proper environment, even if that means providing new training courses and the right office furniture. If they can’t do that, you might suffer from certain injuries, which gives you the right to file a claim in the UK. According to specialists, the most non-fatal injuries reported in the last years were eye damage, sprains and strains, which can occur from long working hours at the computer.
The dangers of poor posture
Are you wondering what could happen if you had a bad posture while working at a desk? First, back and neck pain, headaches and shoulder pain are the most common problems caused by prolonged sitting hours. It can also cause tiredness and reduce blood circulation in your body, leading to stiffness and pain.
Using the computer for too long without taking care of yourself can lead to greater health issues, such as hand injuries, obesity, eyestrain and even photosensitive epileptic seizures. Considering this, the number of weekly hours spent playing video games worldwide is not a good sign, which, according to Statista, was 8.45 in 2021.
Other serious health issues occurring in the gaming industry include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome, which is an inflammation of a nerve in the wrist, causing pain and numbness. It can be treated, but if it’s not taken care of early, it can lead to surgery which takes a month to recover.
- De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, also known as the “gamer’s thumb”, is an inflammation of the tendons that move the thumb. It can lead to swelling and limited movement, and it may take from six to 12 weeks to heal completely.
- Vision problems, especially eye strain, which cause headaches and poor concentration.
Some other health issues are coming from a bad posture that is not that talked about, such as:
- Incontinence, caused by the pressure on the bladder when you’re slouching
- Constipation, caused by hunching over
- Heartburn and slower digestion
What to do besides having a good posture
Esports is actively involved in the health of gamers and people working in this industry, therefore compiled a guide on taking care of yourself for gaming in a healthy way. It includes:
- Warming up before sitting down. To prevent movement latency, you can try a dynamic warm-up, focused especially on your fingers, hand, wrists and even eyes.
- Taking regular breaks. Injuries and aches are common from playing too much; therefore, taking breaks can help your muscles relax and make your eye feel better. You should try these exercises every 15-20 minutes.
- Choose healthy snacks: almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews or avocado. You can mix or use them in different recipes, as long as you’re not eating too many fats.
- Stretch at the end of the day. Most people game at night, so it’s a good idea to stretch after you’re done playing (it can also improve your sleep). It’s best to perform only static stretches.
In conclusion, gaming can become dangerous for your health if you’re not paying attention to what your body tells you. Be wary of the intensity of the places where it hurts and try not to worsen the situation by ignoring them. We know it may be comfortable to sit in the same position as before, but it can seriously cause harm in the long run.