There are nearly 2.3 billion active gamers in the world today which represents nearly 50% of the entire population. Majority of them play games in order to escape their boring and monotonous lives, and this act is expected to generate nearly $137.9 billion in 2018.
Video games are now a serious business, and it has grown bigger than the movies and music industry. After all, it has been proven that computer games increase a person’s problem-solving skills, keep the mind active, improve memory and the ability to multitask and makes one feel important, among many other benefits.
As you indulge in video games more frequent and sometimes for long hours, it is important to ensure that you do so moderately and comfortably in order to avoid health problems like postural syndrome, obesity, muscle pain, vision problems, epileptic seizures, headaches, and even arthritis.
Which is a good way to game?
Gaming is like any other activity, and it needs to be done in moderation. This means playing for a few hours per day in a comfortable position while at the same changing positions often and taking breaks.
You also need to find a way of altering your gaming environment to reduce the stress on your body. In order to minimize the risks of injury, pain, stiffness and other health conditions associated with gaming, it is necessary to improve your gaming environment and posture.
How to ensure a comfortable gaming environment
- The monitor
The ergonomics of your gaming environment greatly determines the level of stress that your body undergoes as you play. So, how far is the monitor from your eyes? How about its height and even the tilt?
While everyone’s eyes are different, they all have the ability to accommodate and converge in order to bring objects at far and short distances into focus. However, overconvergence that results from placing the screen too close to the eyes causes more eye strain.
Since your eyes also direct neck movements, your monitor should not be set too high or too low and be placed at optimal angles (20-50 degrees) to limit neck movements and avoid visual straining.
- The gaming desk
If you want a comfortable gaming experience, then don’t overlook your desk. This is because it plays a significant role in ensuring a good gaming posture – which helps prevent backaches, helps with proper wire management and better use of space.
The size and the design of your gaming desk is of great importance to gaming health. It should enable you to have the right monitor distance and also the right height where you can relax your shoulders comfortably without stressing your rotator cuff.
The depth and height of your gaming desk should also create a space for your knees to rest comfortably on the footrest and also scoot them with ease when bringing them close to the desk.
Standing may be an uncommon way to game but it can be a healthy, fun and engaging option since standing desks come with great mobility and freedom to move around, plus they can be adjustable with multiple settings.
The nature of your gaming peripherals like the keyboard, mouse, and keypad is very important since they are the main tools that you utilize when interacting with your game. While you are free to choose one over the other depending on their performances, it is important to consider the ergonomics side of each.
Which position does each place you in? The ergonomic keyboards may not have evolved much and are characterized by slower responses, but they place your wrist in a comfortable neutral position while playing your game. However, you can still use a straight keyboard if you know how to modify your position to achieve neutral positioning.
Depending on the shape of the hand, the way gamers handle the mouse is not universal. Different mice offer different grips and choosing the wrong one can lead to physical stress on your hands, wrist, and fingers.
Unlike keyboards, keypads are mini-keyboards designed explicitly for gaming, and they offer a much more manageable gaming experience. Their ergonomic design and easily accessible buttons reduce fatigue and hand injuries that usually come with using keyboards.
While it is important to choose a healthy peripheral to use for gaming, it actually boils down to how long you are playing and how you position your wrist while playing.
How should you position your body when gaming? Your lumbar support conforms to the curvature of your lower back and your chair backrest angle should be somewhere between 90 – 120 degrees depending on your neutral spine position.
You will, therefore, be required to adjust your gaming chair and identify this position which will not only ensure that your spine is relaxed but also the muscles of your lower back.
The height of your gaming chair is also important since your knees and hips need to be at the same level with your feet resting flat on the floor to avoid stressing your lower back and applying undue pressure on your thighs.
Your gaming chair armrests should comfortably support your elbows and put your shoulders in a relaxing position. High armrests usually push the shoulders high in a shrugged position causing neck stiffness and pain. Proper chair cushioning is also very important as it helps to reduce pressure on the sitting bones and also reduce the spinal load.
Video games are usually consuming and addictive, and you may find yourself spending hours engaging in them. As you do this, you need to ensure that everything you are using is comfortable, right from the monitor, desk, and chair to all the peripherals.
For games of long duration, posture and comfort matter a lot, not only if you want to compete well but also remain healthy and enjoy your gaming activities for many years to come.
The sitting position, screen height, and gaming peripherals are things that should never be compromised. This should be coupled with taking breaks and performing exercises in order to keep your body healthy and improve your gaming performance.